Tidbits on March 14, 2013
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

This week I feature Set 4 of my favorite Humor Cartoons and Photographs


More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories



Tidbits on March 14, 2013
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 IMagnifying the Universe: Move From Atoms to Galaxies in HD'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

Magnifying the Universe: Move From Atoms to Galaxies in HD ---

Criss Angel performs a really cool trick with a coffee cup at the world renowned Cafe Du Monde located in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana ---

Oscar --- The Grim Reaper Cat (according to the New England Journal of Medicine) ---

Something You Will Never See on a New Hampshire Golf Course ---

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

Édith Piaf’s Moving Performance of ‘La Vie en Rose’ on French TV, 1954 --- Click Here

Tribute to Frank Sinatra --- http://www.youtube.com/embed/e-y581HdWfY?rel=0

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

Statler Brothers Burma Shave --- http://oldfortyfives.com/DYRT.htm

Hear Zora Neale Hurston Sing the Bawdy Prison Blues Song “Uncle Bud” (1940) ---

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

FOUND: A New Collection of Rare Photos from the National Geographic Archives ---

The Pantanal of Bolivia --- Click Here

Smithsonian:  Snakes in a Frame: Mark Laita’s Stunning Photographs of Slithering Beasts ---

Here's To the Beautiful Women of Our Past ---  http://youtube.googleapis.com/v/Q5XetQeFu-0&autoplay=1

Possible Airport Designs of the Future ---
It amazes me that designers don't design freeway ramps onto the roofs such that robotic luggage carriers can deliver the luggage right up to where ground transportation awaits. Instead of walking two miles from a plane to baggage claim, escalators and moving walkways would take passengers up to their awaiting chariots. Maybe Jihadists ruined everything in terms of airport design.

John Pugh's Murals --- http://www.flickr.com/photos/rubbershark/sets/72157627807808108/

Chicago Transit Authority: Public Art --- http://www.transitchicago.com/assets/1/public_art/Public_Art_Book_Web.pdf

“The Bay Lights,” The World’s Largest LED Light Sculpture, Debuts in San Francisco ---

By Popular Demand: "Votes for Women" Suffrage Pictures, 1850-1920 --- http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/vfwhtml/vfwhome.html 

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

"10½ Favorite Reads from TED Bookstore 2013," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, March 2, 2013 ---

Can you tell a book by it's cover? --- http://www.dezimmer.net/Covering Lolita/LoCov.htm

David Foster Wallace’s 1994 Syllabus: How to Teach Serious Literature with Lightweight Books --- Click Here

W.H. Auden’s 1941 Literature Syllabus Asks Students to Read 32 Great Works, Covering 6000 Pages --- Click Here

Arthur Conan Doyle Fills Out the Questionnaire Made Famous By Marcel Proust (1899) --- Click Here

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 March 14, 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

With global warming, worse coastal storms, and rising oceans is repeated rebuilding of flood zones a good idea?

The government is spending billions to repeatedly rebuild flood zones on our eastern seaboard ---

Updates from the Smartest Person on the Planet:  An Algorithm for Everything (well almost everything)

Jensen Comment
The Wolfram Alpha computational search engine in my viewpoint is one of the top ten computing advances of all time ---

"Stephen Wolfram Says He Has An Algorithm For Everything — Literally," by Mark Hachman, ReadWriteWeb, March 11, 2013 ---

Stephen Wolfram believes that we may have already discovered the fundamental Unified Theory of Physics, and that he may able to write it down via a language that his company, Wolfram Alpha, has developed.

That's just the beginning for the man some believe to be the smartest person on the planet. Wolfram also plans to extend the power of computations to messier subjects, revolutionizing everything from law to medicine.

Best In Show At SWSW?

At his talk Monday at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas (Stephen Wolfram: The Computational Future, #wolffuture), Wolfram revealed that he

Wolfram plans to more closely tie Mathematica to other data sources to simulate the interaction of complex machinery. The idea is to be able to answer questions like: "Would an SU-48 Flanker fighter jet be able to fly within the atmosphere of Mars?"

He will do all this, he told attendees, by opening up the fundamental language that his company created — one he calls, with characteristic modesty, the Wolfram Language — to the world at large. Eventually, he added, we'll probably use the Wolfram Language to unify all of physics, too.

Smartest Person On The Planet?

Wolfram won the award for Speaker of the Event at the 2012 SXSW conference, and he seems ready to contend for the crown again. There's no disputing his smarts — this is, after all, a guy who dropped out of Oxford at age 17 only to earn a doctorate in particle physics from Caltech three years later. But at this stage in his career, Wolfram seems obsessed with accumulating, picking apart and then weaving together disparate sources of data, such as basic rules that can be used to achieve complex results.

Continued in article

"Richard Feynman on the Universal Responsibility of Scientists," by Maria Popover, Brain Pickings, March 6, 2013 ---

. . .

It is our responsibility as scientists, knowing the great progress and great value of a satisfactory philosophy of ignorance, the great progress that is the fruit of freedom of thought, to proclaim the value of this freedom, to teach how doubt is not to be feared but welcomed and discussed, and to demand this freedom as our duty to all coming generations.

Jensen Comment
Are accountics scientists living up to their responsibilities?

In many ways they are living up to their responsibilities, but in some ways they are failing badly relative to the real scientists, especially the "welcomed and discussed part."

From AccountingWeb on March 1, 2013

How to Disable Worksheet Animation in Excel 2013
Excel 2013 has arrived, and for the most part, it's much like Excel 2007 and 2010, but with some spiffy new features, such as Recommended Charts and Pivot Tables, Flash Fill, Quick Analysis, Power View, and more.


"A Photo Service That Understands the Contents of Your Images:  Everpix organizes photos after analyzing them with software that can detect things such as animals, outdoor scenes, and people," by Tom Simonite, MIT's Technology Review, March 8, 2013 --- Click Here

Jensen Comment
The article says nothing about OCR reading of text. Hence, I don't think you can have this service read the text in pictures of tables, charts, cartoons, and text files that cannot be copied in any way other than pictures.

What You Will Not See or Hear on Network Television:  How to Lie With Statistics
446,000 part-time jobs were created last month, full-time jobs decreased by 276,000
"Friday’s Surprisingly Strong Jobs Numbers Aren’t Real Written," by Bob Adelmann, The New American, March 10, 2013 ---

Also see
The New American (3/10), MarketWatch (3/8), TheStreet.com (3/8), The Christian Science Monitor (3/8)

"University System of Georgia Offers a Model for Raising Black Male Enrollment," by Libby Sander, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 5, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
This article reports that different procedures were used by different universities. This is understandable since the difference between rural town African American males is probably great in comparison with African American males from the heart of Atlanta where gang presence is much more significant. The finding is that indoctrination can be as important or more important than the education itself, but indoctrination that succeeds may vary with the needs of each student.

Experiments in NYC have taken another approach. The most successful experiment seems to be that of capturing students earlier on in life. Selected K-12 students are pulled out of their traditional schools (and in some cases even their homes). They are subjected  to intense pressures (with many more hours of schooling each week and each year) and closer relations with instructors and each other. The key word here is "selected." Those chosen students show more promise when selected on the basis of potential. A random selection process may not have nearly the same performance success.

I think that behind these experiments in NYC and Georgia is an effort to demonstrate that the research pointing to different genetic intelligence is either entirely  wrong or badly overstated. The nurture versus nature dispute may never be resolved to anybody's satisfaction.

One thing is the rule rather than the exception --- students who do better in college really, really want to learn and will sacrifice almost anything to perform near the top of the competition. For those who resist cheating to get to the top, the applause we give them at graduation is genuine.

I once had small-group lunch with George Steinbrenner (of baseball fame) when he was invited to speak at Trinity University. He had just been on the campus of two universities. One was a black college where he was invited to give the commencement address. The other was a prestigious state university where his son graduated.

He noticed a difference between the tone of the two commencements. At the black college the tone was a dignified celebration that would've brought tears to the eyes of Martin Luther King, Jr. The tone at the other commencement was:  "let's get this over with so we can go out and get blind drunk."

Perhaps George was overly angry with the young white man in the procession who revealed in a flash that he was stark naked under his robe. That, of course, was not George's son.

Tipping Point for LED Lighting
"Once-Pricey LED Bulbs to Dip Under $10," by Martin LaMonica, MIT's Technology Review, March 6, 2013 --- Click Here

"How to Choose an LED Light Bulb," by Martin LaMonica, MIT's Technology Review, March 9, 2013 --- Click Here

Jensen Comment
When it's below zero outside I don't like any cold and bluish light bulbs that remind me of fluorescent lights. Give me muted warm pastels any day.

Erika gets the darndest candle lights that we have on our dining room table and in each window of our cottage. They have no bulb over a flickering flame that you cannot tell from a real flame until you hold your finger in the "fire." She buys them from QVC. I think they're called tea light candles on Amazon. They last a very long time on batteries.

"Most-Admired Companies Aren't Always Great Investments," by Mark Hulbert, The Wall Street Journal, March 8, 2013 ---

Amazon.com AMZN -1.09% recently emerged as the company with the best reputation among the general public in the U.S., according to a survey of more than 14,000 randomly selected individuals conducted by Harris Interactive HPOL -5.23% .

Amazon investors can only hope its fate will turn out better than Apple's, AAPL +1.40% which topped Harris Interactive's survey last year—and has since seen its stock fall more than 20%.

Was Apple's experience a fluke? I wouldn't bet on it.

There are many reasons for Apple's falling stock unrelated to consumer surveys. Yet companies that have great reputations tend to be overvalued. Consider a study that appeared in 2010 in the Journal of Portfolio Management titled "Stocks of Admired and Spurned Companies." The authors analyzed the stocks of firms appearing in Fortune magazine's annual list of "America's Most Admired Companies" between 1983 and 2007.

Though that list is compiled differently from Harris Interactive's, the two reflect many of the same underlying factors. For example, the top three most-admired companies in the current Fortune ranking are in first, second and fourth place in the Harris survey.

The researchers found the spurned companies at the bottom of Fortune's survey were a better bet, on average, than the most-admired ones at the top. A hypothetical portfolio constructed each year out of the least-admired companies performed nearly two percentage points per year better than a portfolio of the most-admired companies.

These results support a contrarian interpretation of a company's reputation, says Meir Statman, a finance professor at Santa Clara University and one of the study's authors. His research found that companies tended to rank higher in the Fortune survey if their stocks had performed particularly well over the previous 12 months. This increases the chances the company's stock will be overvalued, he says.

In fact, Mr. Statman adds, it might be that one of the reasons a company tends to be highly admired in the first place is that its stock price has gone up. This would be one big reason why its stock is so vulnerable to even a slight change in investor sentiment.

It certainly is plausible that a soaring stock price contributed to Amazon's good reputation: Its stock hit a new all-time high in January and has gained 49% over the past 12 months, versus just 13% for the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index.

Investors are more likely to find undervalued situations among the stocks of spurned companies, Mr. Statman says. He notes that such a company needn't perform spectacularly in order for its stock to be a good bet: All it must do is beat investors' diminished expectations.

Because of these factors, he says, we "should tilt our portfolios toward those at the bottom of the rankings."

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
The biggest problem for many investors is that the Fed's seemingly long-term intention is too keep interest rates so low that customary safe investments like bank Certificates of Deposits pay virtually nothing. This forces investors to either burn savings on consumption (which is what retirees are now doing) or take on more financial risks in the stock market (that provides as much illusion as reality unless investors are smart enough to realize that much of what they gain in the stock market in inflationary gain that is not for real).

I sold an Iowa farm about five years ago an am not certain that I made the right decision. Iowa farm land has since risen to an all-time high and can ride out droughts due to the government's generous subsidies for crop insurance against drought and other disasters. And for farmers who had 2012 crop successes in Iowa the corn and soy bean prices are fantastically high at the moment because of the 2012 drought. Farm land is seemingly both an inflation hedge and provides annual liquidity from crop successes or crop failures (due to crop insurance).

But farm land is not necessarily a good investment at the moment because its investment prospects have already be factored into the record high prices for farm land in 2013. Also for distant landlords, like me before I sold the land, it can be frustrating to deal with rent negotiations and tenants who are always begging for things like new tile under wet ground.  I don't want to be a landlord ever again.

Farm rents are subject to high taxes, especially from the State of Iowa. I put the farm sale proceeds into a long-term insured municipal bond fund from Vanguard and have been happy ever since with relatively high tax-free cash returns each year. Of course this is not an especially good inflation hedge, but I do not expect to be alive 20 years from now --- or less. And if tax reform ends the advantages of my tax-free investment I will simply write a check on part of my Vanguard fund and pay off my home mortgage --- my only debt that I keep for tax advantages.

What I really hate to see are all sucker adds in the media to buy gold coins. First of all, if you're going to invest in gold invest in highly-reputed gold funds rather than gold itself which is expensive to store safely and is expensive to get rid of due to need for having it assayed and need to find buyers who do not demand gouging cash discounts when you're forced to sell. Investing in precious metal mutual funds in general is risky for the short term and not good for annual cash flows. Precious metals and some other commodities may be good inflation hedges over a very long haul if you don't need shorter term cash flows. But most of us want some annual cash returns on our investments.

Put simply, investors today are between a rock and hard place until the Fed allows interest rates on safe investments return to reasonable levels that of course still vary with time-to-maturity. But a 1.25% return on a five-year Certificate of Deposit is not reasonable.

Bob Jensen's investment helpers are at

Bob Jensen's tax helpers are at

I never give out investment or tax advice to any individuals or businesses --- which is extremely lucky for them.


Sounds even worse that an All American Notre Dame football player we've heard a log about
Why Smart People Do Dumb Things:
The New York Times has a long piece on Paul Frampton, a theoretical physicist at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, who meets a Czech model online, then, rather gullibly, travels to South America to get to know her in person. Instead of finding love in La Paz, Frampton winds up in a dilapidated Buenos Aires prison. It’s a bizarre tale, a story of hubris, naivete, lust, and deception all rolled into one. Grab a coffee, set aside some time, and have a read.

Jensen Comment
Albert Einstein and Bobby Fisher lusted after young women. Good thing the old letch and the young grandmaster chess player lived (mostly) in the pre-social networking era. Dumb clutzes like me are blind to such temptations --- at least as far as starting up conversations with ugly fraudsters who send tempting pictures of beautiful  women.

There's even been a claim that a woman did Einstein's mathematics. I wonder what other things she did for him?
 Troemel-Ploetz, D., "Mileva Einstein-Marić: The Woman Who Did Einstein's Mathematics", Women's Studies Int. Forum, vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 415–432, 1990.

"Extreme Game of Monopoly over at Simunomics," by Mark P. Holtzman, Accountinator Blog, March 12, 2013 ---

I’m having a blast with Simunomics, a massive mulitplayer business simulation where you can start a business and compete with other players. The goal is, of course, to maximize shareholder value. Build up your retail, manufacturing and natural resource empire to gain market share and build up profits.

I started with manufacturing, and built factories making paper, dyes, beer, and ceramics. None of these fared very well. To keep my costs down, I built them in a depressed town (Drakar), and the markets for wholesale goods there are not very liquid. So I built a convenience store. Unfortunately, the competition for convenience stores is intense, and that store didn’t do too well, either.

So I sold everything – factories and all – and switched over to retailing. Did some market research – there’s serious demand in Drakar for phones, washing machines and fixtures. Then, I converted my convenience store to an appliance store, stocked up on phones, washing machines and fixtures, and started making money. At this point, I’m manufacturing my own phones and washing machines, which I’m reselling out of my own retail outlet.

I’ve got 272/400 points at the Startup(1) level. I’m looking forward to expanding so that I can move on to the next level. Right now, I’m aiming for more market presence in the appliance field, to expand my retail operations, and to continue to vertically integrate by manufacturing all of my own goods.

I would like to encourage my students to try out Simunomics, too. It will better help them to understand the mechanics of business operations. It’s also kind of addictive.

If you’d like to meet up over there, my business name is SHU Accountinator.

Continued in article

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

"How the Quiet Car Explains the World," by Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic, March 12, 2013 ---

I'm sitting in the quiet car of an Amtrak train making my weekly voyage up top. There's a rule that prohibits loud talking and digital devices. Cell phone usage is also prohibited. There are signs at the top of the car labeled "Quiet Car" with the rules prominently displayed. "Quiet Car" is scrawled on the outside, also. The conductor, at the beginning of the trip, announces over the intercom, "If you can hear this you are in the quiet car..." and then explains the rules.

As I write this someone's digital device is going off. The woman apparently can't figure out how to shut it off. She does not want to repair to another car to figure this out. She wants to do it here in the quiet car. She is not alone. Somewhere around 75 percent of the time that I've ridden in the quiet car, somewhere has decided that there is a cell phone conversation they must have, or a song that they must play so that all can hear its melody blaring out the headphones. Two weeks ago, one group decided to grab some beers and make a party of it.

These people are almost always dealt with by a conductor or other passengers. But I've never quite been able to figure out why they come to the Quiet Car. It's not a matter of not knowing the rules, so much as a matter of not caring. It's almost as if the offenders regard the regular cars as a public lavatory, and the Quiet Car as a private bathroom where they may repair to handle their shit.

I like a good bar. I like taking my wife to good bars and drinking with her. Every once in a while we'll be at a bar and someone (they are invariably white*) will stumble over drunkenly and decide that we should be engaged in conversation with them. These encounters range from the annoying (people deciding you need to hear their life story) to the borderline violent (someone telling my wife to "shut the fuck up" -- you can imagine how that went over) to the outright racist. (Dude pulls out a picture of his dog and then tells us, "My dog's a nigger." That actually went over better.) But what they all share in common is the inability to read the rules and know the ledge; the belief that we are their private stall.

It is not unlike what I've noticed here when commenters arrive and complain about the prohibition against threadjacking, the deleting, or moderation as a whole. The Internet is filled with comment spaces, most of them only barely regulated. But that is not enough. One must have the right to talk however one wants, here, specifically.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
This takes me back to the days when airliners had smoking sections in the rear of the plane. I never ever smoked and sat up front whenever possible, Once when I asked the person beside me why she was smoking in the non-smoking part of the aircraft. She said it was because "she could not stand all that smoke back there."


The Law School Bubble Bursts
"Pop Goes the Law," by Steven J. Harper, Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, March 11, 2013 ---

The Law School Admission Council recently reported that applications were heading toward a 30-year low, reflecting, as a New York Times article put it, "increased concern over soaring tuition, crushing student debt, and diminishing prospects of lucrative employment upon graduation." Since 2004 the number of law-school applicants has dropped from almost 100,000 to 54,000.

Good thing, too. That loud pop you're hearing is the bursting of the law bubble—firms, schools, and disillusioned lawyers paying for decades of greed and grandiosity. The bubble grew from a combination of U.S. News-driven ranking mania, law schools' insatiable hunger for growth, and huge law firms' obsession with profit above all else. Like the dot-com, real-estate, and financial bubbles that preceded it, the law bubble is bursting painfully. But now is the time to consider the causes, take steps to soften the impact, and figure out how to keep it from happening again.

The popular explanation for the recent application plummet is that information about the profession's darker side, including the recession's exacerbation of the attorney glut, has finally started reaching prospective law students. Let's hope so. Marginal candidates and those choosing law school by default might be opting out, and the law-school market may finally be heading toward self-correction.

Still, the bubble has been huge, and the correction will need to be, too. There were 68,000 applicants to the fall of 2012 entering class, while the total number of new, full-time jobs requiring a law degree is 25,000 a year and falling. The onset of the recession drove more students to consider law school as a place to wait out the economic collapse. The number of June 2009 and 2010 admissions tests had surged to almost 33,000. To put that in historical perspective, the June 1987 testing session drew just under 19,000 students. The reduction in the number of LSAT takers in the summer of 2011 to 27,000 merely brought it back to 2008 levels.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on the bursting of the law school bubble ---

Jensen Comment
What are the new graduate schools of choice among all those humanities and science graduates?

Oh yeah, that's right!

Stanford Graduate School of Business Dean Garth Saloner discusses why and how business schools must change if they are to serve their students and society well, FEMD Global Focus, Issue 1 in 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Note that the scope of this article is limited to a prestigious MBA program comprised mostly of matured students with stellar admissions credentials, including professional work experience and high admission scores. It focuses on having students from backgrounds ranging from chemistry, electrical engineering, psychology, history, mathematics, etc.

Stanford has no undergraduate business program, unlike Cornell.

Stanford has no accounting undergraduate or masters program like Cornell.

Stanford does have business Ph.D. programs, including an accounting Ph.D. program, but Dean Saloner is not addressing Stanford's Ph.D. programs.

My point is that "critical analytical thinking roofs" praised by Dean Saloner and broad scope a curriculum dealing with varied needs of society may not be appropriate for business and accounting programs that are not similar to Stanford's MBA program. For example, like it or not, we are not doing accounting majors much of a favor if they don't have the prerequisites to take the CPA examination in their state of choice. We aren't doing most business school graduates  much of a favor if they are more like sociology graduates and become uninteresting to business recruiters.

Critical Thinking:  Why is it so hard to teach?

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

An Instructional Teaching Case for Accounting Instructors

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on March 8, 2013

Public-University Costs Soar
by: Ruth Simon
Mar 06, 2013
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com
Click here to view the video on WSJ.com WSJ Video

TOPICS: Financial Ratios, Governmental Accounting

SUMMARY: The article describes the current state of affairs at public institutions of higher education with respect to funding from the state, tuition increases, and some university options to solve the issues that they face. These concerns will be of interest to students generally. The accounting focus in best presented in the related video: return on investment in education.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: The article may be used in any accounting class introducing return on investment. It also may be used in a class covering topics in governmental or not-for-profit entities to discuss the current economic status of public universities. By definition, the state universities that are the focus of the article will use governmental accounting requirements.

1. (Introductory) Summarize the points in the article about factors currently affecting the revenues to state universities.

2. (Introductory) How are the current issues facing state universities affecting their students and prospective students?

3. (Advanced) Define the term ROI (return on investment) and state how it is calculated.

4. (Advanced) Based on the discussion in the related video, how is the concept of ROI applied to assess a student's investment in college tuition and other costs?

5. (Advanced) What return measure is proposed in the video for assessing a student' return on investment in his/her higher education? What are some weaknesses of that measure? Can you propose any other measure that would address those weaknesses?

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island


"Public-University Costs Soar," by Ruth Simon, The Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2013 ---

Tuition at public colleges jumped last year by a record amount as state governments slashed school funding, the latest sign of strain in the U.S. higher-education sector.

The average amount that students at public colleges paid in tuition, after state and institutional grants and scholarships, climbed 8.3% last year, the biggest jump on record, according to a report based on data from all public institutions in all 50 states to be released Wednesday by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. Median tuition rose 4.5%.

The average state funding per student, meanwhile, fell by more than 9%, the steepest drop since the group began collecting the data in 1980. Median funding fell 10%. During the recession, states began cutting support for higher education, and the trend accelerated last year.

Rising tuition costs are "another example of the bind that public institutions are in," said Sandy Baum, a senior fellow at the George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development. "Unless we make public funding a higher priority, the funds are going to have to come from parents and students."

To be sure, last year's decline in state funding nationwide was driven heavily by cutbacks in California, which has the largest state system and lashed funding per student by 14.3% last year. Not including California, per-student funding fell 8% and tuition rose 6.3%.

Paul Lingenfelter, president of the higher-education association, noted that 31 states increased higher education funding in 2012-13, and a number have proposed an increase for the coming year as well.

Kaylen Hendrick, a senior at Florida State University in Tallahassee majoring in environmental studies, is graduating in three years rather than four in order to keep costs and borrowing down.

"Growing up, I thought if I made good enough grades, that college would not be a problem," said Ms. Hendrick, 20 years old, who has taken out about $15,000 in student loans and works 20 hours a week to pay for college.

State funding for the State University System of Florida has declined by more than $1 billion over the last six years, even as enrollment has grown by more than 35,000 students, a spokeswoman for the system said.

Nationally, average tuition, after institutional grants and scholarships, increased to $5,189 in 2011-12 from $4,793 a year earlier, according to the report, which is based on the 2011-12 academic year and adjusted its figures for inflation. Tuition revenue accounted for a record 47% of educational funding at public colleges last year.

The price increases at state schools come at a time when many private colleges are reining in price increases and awarding generous scholarships to attract families worried about rising debt loads and a still shaky job market. In some cases, state tuition has risen so much that costs approach what students might pay at a private college.

At Pennsylvania State University's main campus, in-state undergraduate students receiving financial aid paid an average of $21,342 after grants and scholarships in 2010-11, according to the U.S. Department of Education, up 12% since 2008-09. State funding now accounts for less than 14% of the school's educational budget, down from as much as 62% in 1970-71. "When the appropriation is cut, tuition rises," a Penn State spokeswoman said.

In addition to raising tuition, many states have pared spending. The California State University System declined to take the vast majority of transfer students this spring and has turned away about 20,000 students who qualified for admission during each of the past three years, a spokesman said.

In Kentucky, higher tuition prices make up for just half of the loss in state funding, said Robert King, president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, which oversees the state's system.

Continued in article


"One-Third of Colleges Are on Financially 'Unsustainable' Path, Bain Study Finds," by Goldie Blumenstyk, The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 23, 2012 ---

"Universities Pile on Faculty Perks as Student Costs Grow," by John Hechinger, Bloomberg, March 12, 2013 ---

The University of Chicago paid James Madara $2.5 million in severance when he stepped down in 2009 as medical dean and hospital chief. Madara, who remained on the faculty, later joined the American Medical Association.

Congress is taking a look at such payments following disclosures that Jacob Lew, the new U.S. Treasury secretary, received a $685,000 bonus when he left New York University and had $1.5 million in housing loans from the school.

Harvard and Stanford universities also offer real-estate loans with sweet terms, records show. While the amounts are small relative to university budgets, the perks insulate faculty and administrators from the costs upsetting many middle-class families, said Jonathan Robe, a research fellow at the Center for College Affordability and Productivity in Washington.

“It certainly gives the public a clear example of how out of touch some universities are,” Robe said. “Parents will think, ‘Here I am scraping by, raiding my retirement plan to pay for college. Why are they making me do this just to enrich these executives?’"

Congress and President Barack Obama have been pushing colleges to control tuition and other costs, which can exceed $60,000 a year at a private school. In a weak job market, students are struggling to pay off $1 trillion in education loans. ‘Super Severance’

Exit bonuses are becoming more common among senior executives at large colleges in major cities, said Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, a former president of George Washington University who does executive-pay consulting.

Typically, such “super severance” amounts to one to three times an administrator’s annual salary and bonus, according to Charles Skorina, founder and president of an executive-search firm in San Francisco who specializes in placing finance executives at universities.

Especially at universities on the East and West coasts, where real estate expenses and other costs are high, trustees including Wall Street executives are eager to pay their presidents top dollar, Skorina said. They look for ways to pay additional compensation that doesn’t show up in annual surveys that can anger donors and employees, he said.

“You look for sweeteners, the car and driver, the house and then a back-end exit bonus,” said Skorina. “An exit bonus is palatable because until the guy leaves you don’t have to deal with it.” Attract, Retain

Colleges say they must offer compensation packages to win over talented executives and faculty. Harvard and Stanford said they keep tuition affordable with generous financial-aid programs. High-level administrators focus on efficiency and financial health, said NYU spokesman John Beckman.

“When they have been successful -- as was the case with Jack Lew -- the benefit to the university can range in the tens of millions of dollars,” Beckman said in an e-mail.

At the University of Chicago, Madara’s severance payment, including deferred compensation and retirement benefits, reflected money earned over the course of his career, part of a package typical of executives at peer institutions, according to Steve Kloehn, the school’s spokesman.

Colleges must “attract and retain the best leaders we can,” Kloehn said. Madara, 62, who became chief executive officer of the AMA in 2011, declined to comment.

In terms of favorable loan deals for faculty and some administrators, Harvard and Stanford are among the biggest players. As at NYU, the colleges said they do so because of high real estate costs. ‘Shared Appreciation’

Along with low-interest home loans, Harvard offers “shared-appreciation” mortgages to tenured faculty and some administrators. These loans, which cover only a portion of a property’s purchase price, don’t have monthly payments or set interest, though give Harvard a share in any gain in value when the property is sold. Stanford and NYU have similar programs.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
When it comes to "golden parachutes" and other severance deals in higher education, much of which depends upon cost and volume. If these deals are only given to selected administrators, faculty might object politically, but the incremental cost passed along to students my be negligible.

I know of a university that makes a deal to all employees aged 62 and over. They can get a severance of three years at full pay plus all medical coverage and TIAA-CREF contributions for those three years. The reason ostensibly is so that new blood and new vibrancy can be brought into a university, especially a university where nearly all the tenure slots are filled until somebody finally retires or dies. But the cost of this program is immense if the university is very top heavy with most of its employees not far away from 62 years of age.

The above 62-years of age program almost certainly is politically correct with faculty as long as early retirement is voluntary. However, it might be a very, very costly plan with significant costs that are passed along to students.

Of course there are many other costly perks that go to some or all administrators and/or faculty. It's not uncommon for Ivy League universities to give $10,000 to $30,000 annual expense accounts on top of salary for research purposes, the kind of grants that might allow for summers in Europe doing research. Perhaps these are necessary in some disciplines like accounting in order to be competitive in hiring the top faculty prospects. Natural scientists might object, however, if they have to raise their own expense money from grants outside the university when such grants are taken out of overhead for accounting researchers unable to get outside research grants. There's less objection if accounting research is supported by accounting firm donations to accounting schools and departments.

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

From IDG Connect on March 9, 2013

How Does Connection Speed Impact Society?
Who Tops the Network Connectivity List?
Which Country Is Making the Most of Technology?

Question Posed by an Accounting Student
Wouldn't it be better if there were more exams and each exam was incremental? Hypothetically, the first exam covers only 1 chapter, the second covers 2 chapters, third covers 3 chapters and so on. Do you think this approach would still be useful in developing the critical thinking ability of students? Or is it going to defeat the purpose of “uncertainty” and just train the students on how to get better at taking the exam?

Answer According to Hoyle
by Joe Hoyle
Teaching Blog
March 5, 2013

"10 Worst Corporate Accounting Scandals," by Barry Ritholtz, Ritholtz Blog, March 7, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Barry is a financial analyst with a political science background. As an accounting professor I claim that he missed some of the biggest accounting scandals even if we leave out the really big scandals before 1950 (e.g, leave out the South Sea Scandal of monumental proportion).

There are really two tacks that one can take in the definition of "Corporate Accounting Scandals." One is the size of the "theft" resulting from accountant and/or auditor negligence. Barry probably had this in mind, but he missed a few such as the Franklin Raines earnings management scandal at Fannie Mae.

The other tack is gross accountant and/or audit negligence even when the size of the theft is somewhat smaller for a worse crime. For example, there was enormous accountant and/or auditor negligence when pilfered $53 million from Dixon, Illinois ---
"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 ---
There are many such thefts by accountants that are bad as it gets even if the amounts they stole is are not in the record books.

Here are some examples of accounting examples Barry should've also considered::

When KPMG Got Fired
Fannie Mae may have conducted the worst earnings management scheme in the history of accounting.
You can read the following at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/acct5341/speakers/133glosf.htm
. . . flexibility also gave Fannie the ability to manipulate earnings to hit -- within pennies -- target numbers for executive bonuses. Ofheo details an example from 1998, the year the Russian financial crisis sent interest rates tumbling. Lower rates caused a lot of mortgage holders to prepay their existing home mortgages. And Fannie was suddenly facing an estimated expense of $400 million.

Well, in its wisdom, Fannie decided to recognize only $200 million, deferring the other half. That allowed Fannie's executives -- whose bonus plan is linked to earnings-per-share -- to meet the target for maximum bonus payouts. The target EPS for maximum payout was $3.23 and Fannie reported exactly . . . $3.2309. This bull's-eye was worth $1.932 million to then-CEO James Johnson, $1.19 million to then-CEO-designate Franklin Raines, and $779,625 to then-Vice Chairman Jamie Gorelick.

That same year Fannie installed software that allowed management to produce multiple scenarios under different assumptions that, according to a Fannie executive, "strengthens the earnings management that is necessary when dealing with a volatile book of business." Over the years, Fannie designed and added software that allowed it to assess the impact of recognizing income or expense on securities and loans. This practice fits with a Fannie corporate culture that the report says considered volatility "artificial" and measures of precision "spurious."

This disturbing culture was apparent in Fannie's manipulation of its derivative accounting. Fannie runs a giant derivative book in an attempt to hedge its massive exposure to interest-rate risk. Derivatives must be marked-to-market, carried on the balance sheet at fair value. The problem is that changes in fair-value can cause some nasty volatility in earnings.

So, Fannie decided to classify a huge amount of its derivatives as hedging transactions, thereby avoiding any impact on earnings. (And we mean huge: In December 2003, Fan's derivatives had a notional value of $1.04 trillion of which only a notional $43 million was not classified in hedging relationships.) This misapplication continued when Fannie closed out positions. The company did not record the fair-value changes in earnings, but only in Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income (AOCI) where losses can be amortized over a long period.

Fannie had some $12.2 billion in deferred losses in the AOCI balance at year-end 2003. If this amount must be reclassified into retained earnings, it might punish Fannie's earnings for various periods over the past three years, leaving its capital well below what is required by regulators.

In all, the Ofheo report notes, "The misapplications of GAAP are not limited occurrences, but appear to be pervasive . . . [and] raise serious doubts as to the validity of previously reported financial results, as well as adequacy of regulatory capital, management supervision and overall safety and soundness. . . ." In an agreement reached with Ofheo last week, Fannie promised to change the methods involved in both the cookie-jar and derivative accounting and to change its compensation "to avoid any inappropriate incentives."

But we don't think this goes nearly far enough for a company whose executives have for years derided anyone who raised a doubt about either its accounting or its growing risk profile. At a minimum these executives are not the sort anyone would want running the U.S. Treasury under John Kerry. With the Justice Department already starting a criminal probe, we find it hard to comprehend that the Fannie board still believes that investors can trust its management team.

Fannie Mae isn't an ordinary company and this isn't a run-of-the-mill accounting scandal. The U.S. government had no financial stake in the failure of Enron or WorldCom. But because of Fannie's implicit subsidy from the federal government, taxpayers are on the hook if its capital cushion is insufficient to absorb big losses. Private profit, public risk. That's quite a confidence game -- and it's time to call it.


Wikipedia has a listing of major accounting scandals that I don't think Barry looked at when listing his "10 Worst Corporate Accounting Scandals" ---

One of the largest settlements/fines paid by an accounting firm arose when KPMG confessed to selling over $2 billion in fraudulent tax shelters. The firms cash settlement with the IRS was over $400 million, which was a small amount compared to the actual damages.

The February 19, 2004 Frontline worldwide broadcast is going to greatly sadden the already sad face of KPMG.  As a former KPMG Professor of Accounting at Florida State University, it also saddens me that the primary focus of the Frontline broadcast was on the bogus tax shelters marketed by KPMG over the past few years.  All the other large firms were selling such shelters to some extent, but when their tactics were exposed the others quickly apologized and promised to abandon sales of such shelters.  KPMG stonewalled and lied to a much greater extent in part because their illegality went much deeper.  The video can now be viewed online for free from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/tax/view/

My summary of the highlights is as follows:


  1. These illegal acts added an enormous amount of revenue to KPMG, over $1 billion dollars of fraud.

    American investigators have discovered that KPMG marketed a tax shelter to investors that generated more than $1bn (£591m) in unlawful benefits in less than a year.
    David Harding, Financial Director --- http://www.financialdirector.co.uk/News/1135558 


  2. While KPMG and all the other large firms were desperately promising the public and the SEC that they were changing their ethics and professionalism in the wake of the Andersen melt down and their own publicized scandals, there were signs that none of the firms, and especially KPMG, just were not getting it.  See former executive partner Art Wyatt's August 3, 2004 speech entitled "ACCOUNTING PROFESSIONALISM:  THEY JUST DON'T GET IT" --- http://aaahq.org/AM2003/WyattSpeech.pdf 


  3. KPMG's  illegal acts in not registering the bogus tax shelters was deliberate with the strategy that if the firm got caught by the IRS the penalties were only about 10% of the profits in those shelters such that the illegality was approved all the way to the top executives of KPMG.  

    Former Partner's Memo Says Fees Reaped From Sales of Tax Shelter Far Outweigh Potential Penalties

    KPMG LLP in 1998 decided not to register a new tax-sheltering strategy for wealthy individuals after a tax partner in a memo determined the potential penalties were vastly lower than the potential fees.

    The shelter, which was designed to minimize taxes owed on large capital gains such as from the sale of stock or a business, was widely marketed and has come under the scrutiny of the Internal Revenue Service. It was during the late 1990s that sales of tax shelters boomed as large accounting firms like KPMG and other advisers stepped up their marketing efforts.

    Gregg W. Ritchie, then a KPMG LLP tax partner who now works for a Los Angeles-based investment firm, presented the cost-benefit analysis about marketing one of the firm's tax-shelter strategies, dubbed OPIS, in a three-page memorandum to a senior tax partner at the accounting firm in May 1998. By his calculations, the firm would reap fees of $360,000 per shelter sold and potentially pay only penalties of $31,000 if discovered, according to the internal note.

    Mr. Ritchie recommended that KPMG avoid registering the strategy with the IRS, and avoid potential scrutiny, even though he assumed the firm would conclude it met the agency's definition of a tax shelter and therefore should be registered. The memo, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, stated that, "The rewards of a successful marketing of the OPIS product [and the competitive disadvantages which may result from registration] far exceed the financial exposure to penalties that may arise."

    The directive, addressed to Jeffrey N. Stein, a former head of tax service and now the firm's deputy chairman, is becoming a headache itself for KPMG, which currently is under IRS scrutiny for the sale of OPIS and other questionable tax strategies. The memo is expected to play a role at a hearing Tuesday by the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which has been reviewing the role of KPMG and other professionals in the mass marketing of abusive tax shelters. A second day of hearings, planned for Thursday, will explore the role of lawyers, bankers and other advisers.

    Richard Smith, KPMG's current head of tax services, said Mr. Ritchie's note "reflects an internal debate back and forth" about complex issues regarding IRS regulations. And the firm's ultimate decision not to register the shelter "was made based on an analysis of the law. It wasn't made on the basis of the size of the penalties" compared with fees. Mr. Ritchie, who left KPMG in 1998, declined to comment. Mr. Stein couldn't be reached for comment Sunday.

    KPMG, in a statement Friday, said it has made "substantial improvements and changes in KPMG's tax practices, policies and procedures over the past three years to respond to the evolving nature of both the tax laws and regulations, and the needs of our clients. The tax strategies that will be discussed at the subcommittee hearing represent an earlier time at KPMG and a far different regulatory and marketplace environment. None of the strategies -- nor anything like these tax strategies -- is currently being offered by KPMG."

    Continued in the article.


  4. KPMG would probably still be selling the bogus tax shelters if a KPMG whistle blower named Mike Hamersley had not called attention to the highly secretive bogus tax shelter sales team at KPMG.  His  recent and highly damaging testimony to KPMG is available at http://finance.senate.gov/hearings/testimony/2003test/102103mhtest.pdf 
    This is really, really bad for the image of professionalism that KPMG tries to portray on their happy face side of the firm.  KPMG is now under criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.


  5. The reason that KPMG and the other large accounting firms did and can continue to sell illegal tax shelters at the margin is that they have poured millions into an expensive lobby team in Washington DC that has been highly successful in blocking Senator Grassley's proposed legislation that would make all tax shelters illegal if the sheltering strategy served no economic purpose other than to cheat on taxes.  Your large accounting firms in conjunction with the world's largest banks continue to block this legislation.  If the accounting firms wanted to really improve their professionalism image they would announce that they have shifted their lobbying efforts to supporting Senator Grassley's proposed cleanup legislation.  But to do so would put these firms at odds with their largest clients who are the primary benefactors of abusive tax shelters.


And KPMG's negligent audits of Countrywide Financial may have resulted in the largest economic damage ever for an auditing firm.
"Settling For Silence: KPMG Closes The Books On New Century And Countrywide," by Francine McKenna, re:TheAuditors, August 18, 2010 ---

And if we move beyond accounting per se, the recent LIBOR scandals are bigger than all of his "10 Worst" combined ---

The Lawsuits are "Boundless"
"Free-Textbook Company Rewrites Its Content Following Publishers’ Lawsuit," by Jake New, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 8, 2013 ---
Click Here

A free-textbook company that was sued last year by three major textbook publishers has now rewritten the content it was accused of stealing.

Pearson, Cengage Learning, and Macmillan Higher Education filed a joint complaint in March 2012 against the company, known as Boundless. The publishers asserted that the way Boundless creates its textbooks violates their copyrights. In a process called “alignment,” students select the traditional text they need, and Boundless pulls together open content to create free versions of the books.

The publishers say the resulting products too closely mirror the original texts, specifically the way the new books are organized. Matt Oppenheim, a lawyer representing the publishers, said Boundless was simply stealing the substance of his clients’ textbooks.

“They were stripping out the entirety of a book’s structure and organization, topic by topic, subtopic by subtopic, and using it to create a skeleton that they then told the world was a version of a publisher’s book,” he said.

The lawsuit, he said, would continue.

Ariel Diaz, chief executive of Boundless, said the rewritten versions were just part of a continuing process of improving the company’s products, and were not a response to the lawsuit. The company stands by the original versions of its textbooks and its defense, he said.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

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


Mostly but not entirely about the economy
"100 Startling Facts About the Economy," by Morgan Housel, The Motley Fool, February 5, 2013 ---

Selected facts of possible interest:

2. If you divide their net worths by their age, Carlos Slim and Bill Gates have each accumulated more than $100,000 in net worth for every hour they've been alive.

3 According to Forbes, if a Google employee passes away, "their surviving spouse or domestic partner will receive a check for 50% of their salary every year for the next decade." (in the case of Google I suspect that includes gay partners).

5.  According to a study by Harvard professor David Wise and two colleagues, 46.1% of Americans die with less than $10,000 in assets.

16. The U.K. economy is 3.3% smaller than it was in 2008. The U.S. economy is 2.9% larger (both adjusted for inflation).

18. Dell "has spent more money on share repurchases than it earned throughout its life as a public company," writes Floyd Norris of The New York Times.

20. The International Labour Organization estimates a record 200 million people will be unemployed around the world in 2013. If you gave them their own country, it would be the fifth-largest in the world. (the U.S. share is slightly over 11 million unemployed, although unemployment statistics are misleading since they exclude unemployed people who simply stopped looking for work because it seemed hopeless. Unemployment statistics, on the other hand, are bloated by unemployed people earning fairly good money in the underground economy such as housemaids, day care services, roofers, plumbers, ranch hands, lumber jacks, drug dealers, prostitutes, security guards, truck drivers, etc.).

21. Despite the overall population doubling, more babies were born in the U.S. in 1956 than were born in 2009, 2010, or 2011.

24. Netflix surged more than 50% on Jan. 24 from the previous day's low. $1,000 invested in short-term call options would have been worth $2 million in less than 24 hours. (Please don't try this at home.)

26. U.S. charitable giving was $298 billion in 2011, according to the Giving USA Foundation. That's more than the GDP of all but 33 countries in the world.

28. "Globally, the production of a given quantity of crop requires 65% less land than it did in 1961," writes author Matt Ridley.

31. Since 2008, Americans have donated $19.1 million to the U.S. Treasury to help pay down the national debt.

35. The 100 largest public pension funds alone have $1.2 trillion of unfunded liabilities, according to actuarial firm Milliman.

44. According to California Common Sense, "Over the last 30 years, the number of people California incarcerates grew more than eight times faster than the general population."

48. According to economist Glen Weyl, "Of Harvard students graduating in early '90s and pursuing careers in finance, 1/3 were making over $1 million a year by 2005." (The prospects are not quite as rosy on Wall Street today.)

49. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, 44% of those working for minimum wage in 2010 had attended at least some college, up from 25% in 1979. (It is not clear if this includes students working for minimum wage before graduating).

52. The number of workers aged 55 and up is about to surpass the number of workers aged 24 to 34 for the first time ever.

55. The IRS estimates that illegal tax-evasion reduced government tax revenue by $450 billion in 2006 (the most recent year calculated). That's roughly equal to what the government spends annually on Medicare.

60. The International Energy Agency predicts that the U.S. will become the world's largest oil-producer by 2020, overtaking Saudi Arabia.

66. Since U.S. markets bottomed in March 2009, more than $8 trillion of lost wealth has been recouped.

70. "Of the Americans who earn over $150,000, 82 percent had a bachelor's degree. Just 6.5 percent had no more than a high school diploma," writes Catherine Rampell of The New York Times. (This is a misleading statistic since most of those college graduates may have done well without a college degree due to higher IQ, motivation, work ethic, better health, low obesity rates, opportunities to work with successful parents, etc.)

73. Credit card debt as a percentage of GDP is now at the lowest level in two decades.

77. According to Gallup, 51.3% of Americans consider themselves "thriving," 45.1% say they are "struggling," and 3.6% say they're "suffering."

78. An average couple will pay $155,000 in in 401(k) fees over their careers, according to Demos, reducing an average account balance from $510,000 to $355,000.

84. Of the 3.1 million students who graduated high school in 2010, 78.2% received their diplomas on time, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That was the highest percentage since 1974.

85. The U.S. birthrate declined 8% from 2007 to 2010, according to Pew. At 63.2 per 1,000 women of childbearing age, the 2011 U.S. birthrate was the lowest since records began in 1920.

87. According to David Wessel of The Wall Street Journal, Americans "spend about half of their food budgets at restaurants now, compared to a third in the 1970s."

92. Federal nondefense discretionary spending -- all spending minus defense and entitlements -- is on track to hit its lowest level as a share of GDP in more than 50 years, according to data from the Congressional Budget Office.

96. In the 1960s, wages and salary income made up more than 50% of GDP. By 2011, it was less than 44%, as dividends, interest, and capital gains made up a growing share of the nation's income. (Manufacturing robots are also partly to blame.)

98. "More than 50 million Americans couldn't afford to buy food at some point in 2011," writes CNNMoney, citing U.S. Department of Agriculture data. In June 2012, 46.7 million Americans received food stamps. (It's difficult to estimate the amount of cheating going on here, but it's very high. One factor is that some couples with children avoid marriage so that they can get food stamps in spite of the income of a working partner. This is why some couples pay for groceries with food stamps before loading them into a fancy car.)

100. The unemployment rate for those with a bachelor's degree is just 3.7% -- less than half the nationwide average. (This is a misleading statistic. Perhaps half (a guess) of college graduates are parents at home who are not included in the unemployment rate out of choice. And most of those college graduates who are working may have done well without a college degree due to higher IQ, motivation, work ethic, better health, low obesity rates, opportunities to work with successful parents, etc More importantly, many of the unemployed without college degrees are very hard to employ due to retardation, poor health including mental health, gross obesity, racial prejudice that still exists, rural living preferences, gang influences, and other factors that skew the unemployment rate averages toward non-graduates from college.)

From CFO.com Morning Ledger on March 8, 2013

Companies are tapping into their massive cash hoards to reward shareholders handsomely. S&P 500 firms are expected to pay at least $300 billion in dividends this year – topping last year’s $282 billion, the WSJ reports in this A1 must-read. And analysts say that could go even higher. Apple stands to pay out about $10 billion in a dividend policy it initiated last year, while Exxon Mobil and AT&T are each set to pay dividends around $10 billion. Then there are the buybacks. In February alone, American companies – including Home Depot, General Electric and PepsiCo — announced plans to buy back $117.8 billion of their own shares — the highest monthly total in records dating back to 1985.

“We are starting to get out of hunker-down mode, so what you have now is a bunch of cash-hoarders who have decided to take that cash out of their balance sheets,” said David Ikenberry, dean of the University of Colorado’s business school. “Is that a good thing? It probably is. They’re liberating capital and putting it back out into the capital markets, and letting that multiplier effect kick in.”

Cash piles are still growing. The Fed’s latest quarterly “Flow of Funds” report, released yesterday, said that cash and cash-equivalents held by U.S. corporations, excluding financial companies, stood at $1.79 trillion in Q4 of 2012, up from $1.77 trillion the previous quarter. “Corporations are flush with cash and that cash sitting in the corporate coffers is earning next to nothing,” said Rob Leiphart, an analyst at Birinyi Associates. “Companies have to do something with it.

12 Types of Answers to Avoid in Ph.D. oral examinations (wellllll, maybe not always avoid when silence is worse)

"12 Bloopers to Avoid in Job Interviews," Robert J. Sternberg, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 25, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
These so-called bloopers in job interviews can be extrapolated to a Ph.D. oral examination. One of outside examiners for my oral examination was notoriously predictable. For 10 years he purportedly asked the same questions. I was fully prepared in advance to answer these questions.

Then for some unknown reason he chose me to ask completely new questions. He must've been confused when I answered questions he did not ask.

After I passed that oral examination it was most certainly a 3+ martini night.

How much of the "record" increase in the Dow is illusionary inflation that misleads the investing public into thinking they are doing great?

Why do the major television networks hide the real facts of this "record" high in the Dow

Here's The Crying Towel
To add pain to misery the IRS taxes those illusionary, non-real gains (possibly at long-term capital gains rates) when the IRS should really be only taxing inflation-adjusted gains.

"Dismal Science Takes Dim View of Dow 'Record'," by E. S. Browning, The Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2013 ---

Investors and Wall Street analysts rejoiced at the Dow Jones Industrial Average's record close on Tuesday. Economists were unimpressed.

Seen from the perspective of the dismal science, the Dow's close isn't a record at all. That is because economists adjust share-price movements for inflation, a factor stock analysts prefer to ignore. Once inflation is factored in, the Dow's stellar run over the past few years looks more pedestrian and the investors who have ridden its wave less wealthy.

With consumer-price increases removed, something students learn about in Economics 101, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is far from a record: It hasn't been in real record territory in more than 13 years.

The last nominal Dow record, in October 2007, wasn't a record at all once inflation is removed. The last real, or inflation-adjusted, record was on Jan. 14, 2000.

It is something that analysts and investors should take more seriously, said Richard Sylla, a professor of financial history at New York University's Stern School of Business. "People could be fooled if they don't pay attention to inflation," he said.

The effects of inflation are relatively small over the short term. But over a longer period, the distortions can be significant. Ignoring inflation, Mr. Sylla said, the Dow appears to be roughly 140 times its level of 100 years ago, an enormous gain. But removing price increases and counting only real gains, the Dow is roughly seven times its level of 100 years ago, a good gain but far from what it appears.

Even over the past 13 years, a period that is important to many ordinary investors, the difference is significant. In nominal terms, the Dow today appears to have risen 22% from the record it hit in January 2000. But taking inflation into account, it still is more than 10% below that record.

For investors planning for retirement, ignoring inflation can mean overstating the value of future investments and understating the amount of money that will be needed. That can be even more the case for bonds than for stocks, Mr. Sylla said, because the interest payments that investors receive from bonds don't change as prices rise. The longer the bond's maturity, the more inflation eats into the bond's return.

Because most ordinary people are investing now to cover future needs, it also is essential to take into account likely future inflation, which will eat into the real value of future returns, he said.

"You could be fooled if you get a 10% return on your investment. But if prices go up 10%, you won't be any better off," even though you appear to have a big gain, he said.

Wall Street hates this reality. On Tuesday, the Dow closed at 14253.77. That surpassed the nominal 2007 record of 14164.53 and eclipsed the high of 11722.98 hit in 2000.

But since the end of 1994, when the 1990s stock boom began, consumer prices have risen 55% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To see how much stock prices are up in real terms, analysts need to remove that inflation.

Measuring everything in 1994 dollars reduces the gains and makes the Dow chart less exciting, but as economists like to put it, the numbers are real. Tuesday's close is just 9256.38 once inflation is removed. That doesn't even match the inflation-adjusted high of 10194.80 hit in 2007. And it is far from the real record of 10424.28 hit Jan. 14, 2000, according to calculations by Bespoke Investment Group. In inflation-adjusted terms, the Dow still has more than doubled since 1994, but it shows no progress at all since the first part of 1999.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
The Fed's Quantitative Easing strategy of printing trillions of dollars to pay government bills without taxing or borrowing has contributed to this illusion.

What a sick game. Create inflation so you can tax the illusionary gains.

What five companies primarily drive ups and downs of the Dow price index?

It's like judging your teaching performance in a class of 30 students on the basis of only five selective students chosen not at random.

"Five Stocks Do the Heavy Lifting," by Steven Rossolillo, The Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
There's fantastic interactive graphic that accompanies this online article. You have to see it to believe it!

Bob Jensen's threads on multivariate data visualizations:
Visualization of Multivariate Data (including faces) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/352wpvisual/000datavisualization.htm 

2013 US News College Rankings --- Click Here

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

Blue is Blue
From the TaxProf Blog on March 6, 2013

The Fiscal Times:  The Ten Worst States for U.S. Taxes:

  1. New York
  2. New Jersey
  3. California
  4. Vermont
  5. Rhode Island
  6. Minnesota
  7. North Carolina
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Iowa
  10. Maryland

The left of liberal governor of Vermont claims that his state's welfare generosity motivates Vermonters not to seek employment (at least the kind that does not pay cash under the table in the underground economy) ---

Case Studies in Gaming the Income Tax Laws ---

Drew Brees was smart/lucky to reside in a lower taxation state. Poor Joe Flacco plunks out the largest amount in taxes among NFL players. It's not clear, however, that he pays the highest tax rates --- those are reserved for the Bluest States.

Joe Flacco, Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Colin Kaepernick, Carson Palmer, and Phil Rivers should get the biggest crying towels while they are singing "The Blues."

"Tax Bite Leaves Joe Flacco Only the Second Highest Paid NFL Player," Americans for Tax Reform, March 7, 2013 ---

"New Center Hopes to Clean Up Sloppy Science and Bogus Research," by Tom Bartlett, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 6, 2013 ---

Something is wrong with science, or at least with how science is often done. Flashy research in prestigious journals later proves to be bogus. Researchers have built careers on findings that are dubious or even turn out to be fraudulent. Much of the conversation about that trend has focused on flaws in social psychology, but the problem is not confined to a single field. If you keep up with the latest retractions and scandals, it's hard not to wonder how much research is trustworthy.

But Tuesday might just be a turning point. A new organization, called the Center for Open Science, is opening its doors in an attempt to harness and focus a growing movement to clean up science. The center's organizers don't put it quite like that; they say the center aims to "build tools to improve the scientific process and promote accurate, transparent findings in scientific research." Now, anybody with an idea and some chutzpah can start a center. But what makes this effort promising is that it has some real money behind it: The center has been given $5.25-million by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to help get started.

It's also promising because a co-director of the center is Brian Nosek, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Virginia (the other director is a Virginia graduate student, Jeffrey Spies). Mr. Nosek is the force behind the Reproducibility Project, an effort to replicate every study from three psychology journals published in 2008, in an attempt to gauge how much published research might actually be baseless.

Mr. Nosek is one of a number of strong voices in psychology arguing for more transparency and accountability. But up until now there hasn't been an organization solely devoted to solving those problems. "This gives real backing to show that this is serious and that we can really put the resources behind it to do it right," Mr. Nosek said. "This whole movement, if it is a movement, has gathered sufficient steam to actually come to this."

'Rejigger Those Incentives'

So what exactly will the center do? Some of that grant money will go to finance the Reproducibility Project and to further develop the Open Science Framework, which already allows scientists to share and store findings and hypotheses. More openness is intended to combat, among other things, the so-called file-drawer effect, in which scientists publish their successful experiments while neglecting to mention their multiple flubbed attempts, giving a false impression of a finding's robustness.

The center hopes to encourage scientists to "register" their hypotheses before they carry out experiments, a procedure that should help keep them honest. And the center is working with journals, like Perspectives on Psychological Science, to publish the results of experiments even if they don't pan out the way the researchers hoped. Scientists are "reinforced for publishing, not for getting it right in the current incentives," Mr. Nosek said. "We're working to rejigger those incentives."

Mr. Nosek and his compatriots didn't solicit funds for the center. Foundations have been knocking on their door. The Arnold Foundation sought out Mr. Nosek because of a concern about whether the research that's used to make policy decisions is really reliable.

"It doesn't benefit anyone if the publications that get out there are in any way skewed toward the sexy results that might be a fluke, as opposed to the rigorous replication and testing of ideas," said Stuart Buck, the foundation's director of research.

Other foundations have been calling too. With more grants likely to be on the way, Mr. Nosek thinks the center will have $8-million to $10-million in commitments before writing a grant proposal. The goal is an annual budget of $3-million. "There are other possibilities that we might be able to grow more dramatically than that," Mr. Nosek said. "It feels like it's raining money. It's just ridiculous how much interest there is in these issues."

Continued in article

Appeal for a "Daisy Chain of Replication"
"Nobel laureate challenges psychologists to clean up their act: Social-priming research needs “daisy chain” of replication," by Ed Yong, Nature, October 3, 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
Accountics scientists set a high bar because they replicate virtually all their published research.

Yeah Right!
Accountics science journals like The Accounting Review have referees that discourage replications by refusing to publish them. They won't even publish commentaries that question the outcomes ---

Accountics science researchers won't even discuss their work on the AAA Commons ---

So what's new?
UK judge who issued extreme ruling for Samsung against Apple hired by... Samsung! ---

"What is the most underused research technique among lawyers?"

Answer in an email from Brian Garner on February 26, 2013

ANSWER: Undoubtedly it's Google Books.

It's possible to perform extremely literal searches -- word-for-word and character-for-character searches -- on Google Books, and to have at your fingertips the entire corpus of major university libraries' holdings. This means that you can scour all the legal treatises at Chicago, Stanford, Oxford, Columbia, and other major institutions in minutes -- and without ever leaving your chair.

For example, let's say you wanted to learn the history of whether statutes can be repealed by disuse. You could first go to the main Google Books site and type in terms such as repeal statute disuse. A quick scan of the results would lead you to the term desuetude. You could then scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "advanced search," where you'd find powerful options for refining your search. By crafting different searches using the terms desuetude, statute, repeal, disuse, American law, etc., you would find sources discussing desuetude in Scots, Roman, English, and American law. And as with any research project, the more you delve into the sources, the more nuances you'll discover. (By the way, for a full discussion of the desuetude canon and its standing in current law, see Antonin Scalia & Bryan A. Garner, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts 336-39 [2012]).

As with any electronic search, the quality of the results will depend on your research skills. But instead of paying for a legal-research service, as lawyers so commonly do, you have a compilation of answers in treatises with just a few strokes of your keyboard -- and best of all: at no charge.

Granted, for a full-text reading, Google Books is most useful when you're researching historical matters found in works in the public domain (any book published before 1923 is not protected by copyright laws and has passed into the public domain). But even for books still in copyright, it can take you to sources you can purchase or consult in a library. An especially useful feature of Google Books is the advanced-search criterion by publication date. For example, you might ask for books published only from 1976 to 2000.

Mind you, Google Books shouldn't be your sole source for legal research. But you'll be surprised at how handy it can be. So don't let this valuable research tool go untapped. Lawyers everywhere ought to be using Google Books in addition to Westlaw, LexisNexis, and other electronic-search services.

Don't do as I do, do as I say
Author Unknown

"Why analysts should not be investors," by Felix Salmon, Reuters, March 7, 2013 ---

Advantages and Disadvantages of eTextbooks

March 8, 2013 message from Jerry Trites

Blog entry - E-textbooks long overdue

March 8, 2013 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Jerry,

Many publisher textbooks, including accounting textbooks and supplements, are now available, as one of the alternatives, in eBook form. The business model for an eBook textbook is often a rental model. Students pay to get access for a term before access is denied.

The biggest advantage that I can see in the above business model is that books can be updated each semester. This, however, is not as easy for authors as it sounds. For example, when the IASB and FASB adopt the forthcoming converged Revenue Recognition Standard, the revision has to be carried through all end-of-chapter questions, problems, and cases in the entire book. The revision also has to be carried through on all supplements.

Richard Campbell's new multimedia solutions "manual" funded by Wiley could be out of date two days after it hits the market.

There are drawbacks eBook textbooks.. Hard copy purchases, unlike eBook rentals, can be shelved with all the marginal notations and referenced for years to come --- at least until passing the CPA examination.

Many readers, like me, still prefer hard copy, which is why I still pay to receive my AAA journals in hard copy as well as electronic form.

To my knowledge there is no used book market for an eBook even if the book can be owned forever by a reader (usually with free future downloads if you have computer crashes).

How do we "book" eBooks into the ledger if they become part of the business firm's reference library? Pat Walters and Tom Selling would probably prefer marking eBooks to market which is $0 for each eBook even though hard copy versions of the same content on the library shelves have higher values when marked-to-used market. In some cases, as with the Paton and Littleton 1940 monograph, the exit value by be 100 times 1940 cost in hard copy.

Bob Jensen's threads on eBooks are at

Bob Jensen

"The Object Formerly Known as the Textbook," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 27, 2013 ---

Textbook publishers argue that their newest digital products shouldn't even be called "textbooks." They're really software programs built to deliver a mix of text, videos, and homework assignments. But delivering them is just the beginning. No old-school textbook was able to be customized for each student in the classroom. The books never graded the homework. And while they contain sample exam questions, they couldn't administer the test themselves.

One publisher calls its products "personalized learning experiences," another "courseware," and one insists on using its own brand name, "MindTap." For now, this new product could be called "the object formerly known as the textbook."

Continued in article


"10½ Favorite Reads from TED Bookstore 2013," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, March 2, 2013 ---

"The 8 Most Obnoxious Internet Commenters," by: Toby Francis, Cracked, September 3, 2008 ---

Jensen Comment
I vote for any commenter who will not allow his/her guest to complete a single sentence. That's not a guest. It's a speech beside a whipping post.

Comparison of Gas Prices Among the 50 States --- http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/temp/GasPricesFeb2013.jpg
Source:  "Feeling the Pinch at the Pump," The Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
The states that have the highest gas prices tend to be those that tax the most per gallon. In California and some other states costly air pollution control blending adds to the costs. And in California and some other states environmental regulations virtually prohibit the building of new refineries, thus requiring greater costs of importing fuel into those states. I don't know that California will ever allow a new refinery to be built in that state.

I just bought 10 gallons of diesel fuel for my tractor and paid $.50 cents less per gallon because I use this tractor off-road for snow blowing and mowing purposes. Most states provide some relief for off-road fuel usage. Even though gas prices are high in the mid-west farming states, farmers do get some price relief for growing their crops. The color is different (often red)  for off-road versus on-road usage. I don't think it is common, however, for the state troopers to stop vehicles and examine the color of the fuel.

Note how New Hampshire is outlined by the pink of surrounding New England states. The same thing happens with liquor and cigarette prices. We're big on sin in New Hampshire.

Comparisons of Sales Tax Exemptions in the 50 States ---

"BMW’s Solution to Limited Electric-Vehicle Range: a Gas-Powered Loaner:  BMW’s approach to quelling range anxiety differs markedly from the tactics of other automakers," by Kevin Bullis, MIT's Technology Review, March 6, 2013 --- Click Here

Jensen Comment
If I bought a BMW i3 the batteries would not have enough oomph to get me to the closest BMW dealer on a hot day to pick up my gas-powered loaner. Today, in early March, it couldn't even get me half way because the batteries don't work well in cold weather.

The limitation is the BMW purchase contract clause that says "infrequent" use of a gas-powered loaner.

And why is it that none of the electric car promotions ever talk about the cost of recharging the batteries?
This obviously varies by country and by regions within a country. In most of Europe the cost of electricity is very high, which is why Europeans often heat water in their homes on demand rather that store it up 24/7 in big hot water tanks that are popular in USA homes.

The answer probably is that if you can afford a BMW i2 or a GM Volt or a Tesla you never have to ask about the cost of recharging the batteries.

Japanese automakers have given up on battery-powered cars. They're betting on fuel cells and/or greatly increased gas mileage efficiency. Meanwhile, BMW, GM, and Tesla will keep making battery-powered cars for the top 1%, or maybe I should say the top 0.000001%.

The odd thing is that the drivers that can afford these luxury electric cars probably don't care two hoots if their luxury gas guzzlers get less than ten miles to the gallon or that their private jets cost $10,000 per hour in the air.

And there are playboys who hope that when they take women out for a drive the batteries will die miles from home near the parking lot of a motel. That might even make a good theme for a Viagra commercial. "My batteries lost their oomph but not me honey!"

"Accountants Will Save the World," by Peter Bakker, Harvard Business Review Blog, March 5, 2013 --- Click Here 

Jensen Comment
You might also want to read the comments that follow this article.

Bob Jensen's threads on triple bottom accounting ---

"Ten career tips for young CPAs," by Mark Ursick, cpa2biz, February 25, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
I especially agree with:  "Don’t limit your challenges; challenge your limits."

The most gung ho student I ever had studying the accounting for derivative financial instruments and hedging strategies never limited his challenges even though he was less gifted than some of my students. He just worked and worked and worked as a student.

His first job was with a Big Four firm in Houston and within three years he was the technical guy who virtually was in charge on an audit of a company that had over $1 billion in derivatives. He's since moved on to become a leading executive at Microsoft.

In contrast I had more brilliant students who got buy in my accounting theory course but would run like somebody yelled "Fire" if they had an opportunity to audit derivative financial instruments contracts. They never became executives in any companies.

Wow! This is a paradigm shift in terms of when students (as sophomores)  are promised they are admitted to medical school.
"Med School Without the MCAT," by Zack Budryk, Inside Higher Ed, February 28, 2013 ---

In a major policy shift, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Wednesday announced that it will fill half of its entering class going forward by admitting college sophomores -- three years before they would enroll in medical school -- and will do so without requiring traditional pre-med course requirements and the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

In what a press release called the beginning of a “fundamental shift,” sophomores will be admitted to “FlexMed,” a new program in which they will spend the rest of their undergraduate time in tracks such as  computational science/engineering, biomedical sciences and humanities/social sciences. Students will be encouraged to take courses in biostatistics, ethics, health policy and public health.  These courses would replace the traditional pre-med science requirements.

Students will also be encouraged, but not required, to become proficient in Spanish or Mandarin.

David Muller, Mount Sinai’s dean of medical education, said in an interview that although requirements issues had been “written about for years and years... there’s been either an inertia or a reluctance to take a first step and break down the model and try something new. What I hope will happen is that this program will prove very successful and prove decisively that it’s a viable alternative.”

Mount Sinai has had a similar program on a much smaller scale in the past, and says it has been a success.

Explaining the rationale behind the decision to take a small program and apply it to half of the class, Muller said that pre-med science requirements tend to be “science that is not the most applicable to current clinical or translational research; it’s not unimportant science, but it’s kind of outdated.”

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
It is not clear if there are selection criteria regarding what university sophomores will be eligible for the program. Will sophomores at Dade Community College be in contention? Will most of the students selected have to have stellar SAT scores as well as 4.0 grade averages in their first year of college (not so hard to do these days). Will minority students have an edge in affirmative action admissions?

Another consideration is that when college graduates apply for medical school they have already worked out a financial plan for paying the hundreds of thousands oif dollars that medical school may cost, especially those that are now five-year programs. Can sophomores realistically work out such financing plans years before they eventually go to medical school and are still struggling to pay for their undergraduate degrees.

There are thousands of college graduates applying for each open slot in nearly every medical school in the USA. I cannot think that this early-admission experiment will catch on in a serious way in other medical schools.

This plan is tantamount to letting a selected few jump the long line for admission.

Bob Jensen

Reply from Bob Blystone on March 1, 2013

This is a reply about the French Medical School system from a biology professor, Bob Blystone, who leads the premed program at Trinity University.

Note the extremely high drop out rate in the French system. This is some ways is wasted time for drop outs who must then begin their first year of college in another major.

Over half the students in Trinity's entering first-year class sign up for the premed program.

After encountering chemistry and biology, over half of those premed students change majors the second year. It's not that most of the students change majors because of grades. Many of them change majors when they learn that there are possibly over 1,000 applicants who graduate and take to MCAT for each open slot in an accredited USA medical school. Many do not want to leave the USA to study medicine, and so they become Trinity's science majors, business majors, economics majors, psychology majors, education majors, etc.

(PS, Trinity takes pride in having a relatively high percentage of their premed graduates accepted into medical school, although sometimes it takes over a year of persistently trying.)

In many cases these premeds who change majors do so when they learn the math of what four years at Trinity will cost plus the hundreds of thousands more it will cost to complete medical school afterwards. Obtaining some financial literacy contributes to their decisions to change majors, including discovery of the cost of malpractice insurance.

Note how the French system described below is a huge paradigm shift for becoming a licensed MD. Many medical schools in the U.S. will probably offer the French system in part (say half of the entering class) while B.S. degrees and the MCAT scores may be required for other students in the entering class.

There may also be other variations such as requiring students to have the equivalent of a two-year community college associate degree before entering medical school under a modified French system.

Certain specialties may be denied medical school graduates under the French system. For example, I cannot imagine that pathologists can be educated and trained without having a lot more science than is taught in high school and basic medical school.

Nurses, however, will still take four or five years of science in the undergraduate and masters programs.

On Fri, Mar 1, 2013 at 4:30 AM, rblyston123 <rblyston@trinity.edu> wrote:

In a french-style system a high school graduate begins medical school. Six years later they graduate as new MDs. So where did the college years go? There are many courses that one takes in undergraduate school that have no immediate bearing on the medical student. There are also some science courses that are redundant between undergraduate and medical school.

In the french system 2000 students start as medical students and in one year's time, more than 1000 have quit. So the first two years of the six are very undergraduate like but by the "Junior" year, the medical aspects of education take over the curriculum. It does require the student to grow up quickly.

So the efficiency is reflected in cutting down extraneous courses in the undergraduate years and cutting down redundant coursework. Internship can be longer in the french system. Where the system is inefficient is the first year. So many start and so few continue beyond the first year.

On the other hand in the german style (US) just as many start but we see them only as undergrad premeds. The medical school does the weeding at admissions. With the french style the students weed themselves out during the first year.

Students who come through the german style are more research prone and the french style are more clinical oriented.

Bob Blystone

New Apps for HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript
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In 1837, the Massachusetts Board of Education devoted part of its first annual report to praising a recent classroom innovation called the blackboard. This “invaluable and indispensible” innovation...
On March 4, 2013 the Financial Education Daily Linked this Quotation to the Harvard Gazette, but I could not find the source of the quote.

"From Law School to Business School — evolution of the case method," Harvard Gazette, April 3, 2008 ---

On a recent Wednesday morning, 90 high achievers from around the world prepared to get down to cases.

Their professor buzzed through the classroom like a worker bee. Armed with large, multicolored pieces of chalk, he organized his notes, copied pastel-coded facts and figures on the blackboard, and set up a film screen. Soon his students would be equally hard at work, but in a strictly cerebral way.

This day the instructor was inclined to be kind, giving the young man who would open the class discussion an early heads-up, allowing some time to prepare. Often in this setting, classes start with the heart-pounding “cold call,” where a student is put to the test without warning. The deceptively simple “start us off” translates into “as quickly and coherently and convincingly as possible, tell us everything known about this situation and give us your best insight.”

As well as being busy and congenial, Jan Rivkin, a professor in the strategy unit at Harvard Business School (HBS), was clearly engaging, his enthusiasm infectious, his sense of humor unmistakable.

He started with a brief refresher video, one he’d secured from a colleague on holiday in the Bahamas. The class watched their vacationing instructor drop to his knees on the beach as the tape rolled. With a straight face, he reviewed the finer points of his recent technology-operations-management discussion with the class, drawing a series of overlapping diagrams in the sand. When done, he promptly jumped into the ocean.

The crowd loved it, but it was the last light moment. For the next hour-and-a-half the class examined whether the Spanish clothing company Zara should update its retailers’ IT infrastructure.

During the ensuing discussion and debate, Jan Rivkin, deftly prodded, questioned, and encouraged his deeply engaged class.

It was just another day at HBS — and one of its standard case-classes. The case method is the primary mode of teaching and learning at the institution, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. In honor of its centennial, the School will host a series of events on Tuesday (April 8) that will include a number of panels, a birthday celebration, and a case discussion on the future of HBS.

While it didn’t begin with the School’s inception, the revolutionary instructional approach followed shortly thereafter. But it wasn’t an entirely novel concept. The model was actually borrowed from the Harvard Law School and Christopher Columbus Langdell HLS Class of 1853 and dean of the Law School in 1870, who pioneered the technique for the examination of Harvard Law School cases.

Later, at HBS, it was Dean Wallace P. Donham, a Law School grad familiar with the technique, who pushed for the full inclusion of the case method at the Business School, where it was altered and adapted to a business perspective. Since 1921, it has been a core part of the curriculum.

The method of teaching differs greatly from the traditional lecture format, in which students take notes as the professor speaks. Instead, students are engaged in a dynamic back-and-forth with one another and their professor, discussing a topic typically pulled from a relevant, real-life business scenario and featuring a dilemma or challenge. Sometimes, once the class has examined and discussed the case, the actual CEO or president of the company in question will appear in person to explain how the situation ultimately unfolded.

The case topics are wide-ranging and include everything from the world of finance to semiconductors to sweeteners to satellite television.

Some cases offer historic reflections, employing the lessons tragedy imparts. Cases have been written, for example, about the space shuttle Columbia’s final mission in 2003 and the management decisions made prior to its fatal re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, Abraham Lincoln’s leadership during the Civil War, and the management of national intelligence prior to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Students are given an overview of the case’s material to read ahead of time. The packets, roughly 20 to 25 pages long, include a list of facts, an outline of the challenge at hand, and a history of the company or situation in text, charts, and graphs, all compiled into a neat brief.

More than 80 percent of HBS classes are built on the case method. Each week students prepare approximately 14 cases both alone and with the help of study groups. But in the end they are on their own. In class, it is up to the individual to articulate his or her argument and persuade others of its merits. A hefty 50 percent of a student’s grade is determined by class participation, so taking part in the conversation is crucial. Students raise their hands energetically, trying to get quality “air time,” as they call it. Two important unwritten rules, self-enforced by the students themselves: Never speak unless you have something valuable to contribute, and keep it brief.

The teaching technique most effectively prepares the CEOs of tomorrow for what they will inevitably face in the real world, say the professors who employ it.

“Getting a piece of material, having to sift through it, figure out what’s important, … come to a point of view, [then] come to class both prepared to argue that point of view … [and] prepared to listen and be open to others’ viewpoints — those are the skills that the business world demands, and via the case method they get to practice those in the classroom,” said Michael J. Roberts, senior lecturer of business administration and executive director of the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship.

Continued in article

March 4, 2013 reply from Steve Zeff


Thanks for this. I presume you save seen my article, "The Contribution of the Harvard Business School to Management Control, 1908 - 1980," in the special issue 2008 of JMAR. Bob Kaplan invited me to do the research and write the article for the April 2008 history symposium at HBS, which kicked off its 100th anniversary celebration. I attach the article.


"How Virtual Teams Can Outperform Traditional Teams," by Jason Sylva, Harvard Business Review Blog, October 9, 2012 --- Click Here

People can easily list problems they believe are associated with virtual teams: They haven't met and don't really know other team members; it is hard to monitor the work of others; and dispersions can lead to big inefficiencies and degraded performance.

In this HBR webinar, Keith Ferrazzi, a foremost expert on professional relationship development and author of Never Eat Alone and Who's Got Your Back?, shares a strategy for managing virtual teams that can change how your company operates - and how you manage for years to come.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
This theory should be tested in a variety of ways with respect to case analysis by teams. I've always argued that case learning is best in live classrooms, but I'm beginning to doubt myself on this one. Even Harvard and Darden should experiment with onsite versus online team assignments. One advantage of online team assignments is grading if instructors carefully track team member contributions, possibly by monitoring online performance as silent or active (avatar) trackers.

Bob Jensen's threads on case method teaching and research ---

"To Foster Financial Literacy, Students Need More Than Information, Report Says," by Beckie Supiano, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 22, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
The article does not make enough of a distinction between what students should learn about their immediate financial needs (e.g., student loans) versus what they should know when emerging as graduates onto the mean streets of life. For example, to better prepare students for life after graduation they should now some of the rudiments of tax strategies, buy versus rent strategies (e.g., for cars and homes), and knowledge of how to avoid being taken in by fraudsters and high pressured sales people.

For example, the experience of our part-time house cleaning lady could easily be the experience of a new college graduate. Our cleaning lady is a 67-year old widow who probably should be thinking about retirement. She has failing eyesight and this year broke an arm and then a leg in separate incidents in her home. Since becoming a widow she drove the same 2005 Toyota until a high pressured car salesman got her in his clutches. Her old car only had 53,000 miles with a life expectancy of perhaps 300,000 miles before major repairs would be needed. Instead he talked her into a 2012 lease on a new Toyota.

Now she can less afford to retire because of the lease payments combined with her adult children always begging her for money. She should have kept her perfectly good 2005 Toyota and learn how to say no to the children who take advantage of her meager Social Security and house-cleaning income..

Similarly, college graduates probably place too much priority on getting a new car relative to better things they can do with money after graduation.

Michigan Law’s Debt Wizard! --- http://www.law.umich.edu/financialaid/debtwizard/Pages/default.aspx

Bob Jensen's threads on student financial literacy ---

"Re-evaluating My Relationship With Student Evaluations," by Janni Aragon, Inside Higher Ed, March 3, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Professor Aragon claims never to have seen her RateMyProfessor evaluations at

Unlike many evaluations on RMP (feels like over half of 1+ million student evaluations on RMP), her students do not claim she's an easy grader. unlike many "feminists" her qualitative evaluations tend to be less bimodal on RMP.

I never pay any attention to quantitative outcomes on RMP since the samples of students sending evaluations to RMP are self-selecting. However, 92 such evaluations is unusually high number for professors evaluated on RMP. My feeling is that good teachers tend to have higher numbers of RMP respondents. However, there are many, many exceptions.

What is unique about Janni Aragon is that she writes about her teaching evaluations in Inside Higher Education  in a way that can be compared qualitatively with her RMP self-selecting student evaluations. She seems to be very helpful to students who seek out her help.

Her RMP outcomes appear to be consistent with her self evaluation at



Teaching evaluations are a dysfunctional because they are a major cause of the disgrace in education --- monumental grade inflation across the USA ---

"The Unnecessary Agony of Student Evaluations," by Spurgeon Thompson, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 1, 2013 ---

Student evaluations can be either the most painful or falsely ego-boosting things we faculty members read. Sadly, they’re becoming more and more important as American universities veer toward private-enterprise models of educational management. Based on the concept of the customer survey, they have been taken public by a range of Web sites, most famously Rate My Professors.

Now that I’ve returned from a decade teaching in Europe, where the culture around student evaluations is entirely different, it has been eye-opening, if not alarming, to witness American higher education’s shifts toward consumerist assumptions. The impulse behind this shift is understandable. We’ve all done it—written a negative review of a product we were unhappy with on Amazon, or complained about a bad experience with an airline that lost our bag or a hotel whose bedsheets weren’t changed.

There’s a certain liberating power that comes with such ratings, a sense of “I’ll get them for what they did to me” or “I’ll reward them for that extra effort they made.” The problem is when we mistake our money for power, as if buying a service gives us control over its manufacture or production. It doesn’t. “Consumer power” is a myth invented to get us to buy more.

But university students aren’t strictly consumers purchasing a product. To understand why not, try this thought experiment. If the Apple Store made us apply to buy a new iPhone, and accepted only, say, 30 percent of us who wanted to buy one, and then told us we had to study and master the phone’s operation manual for several years before we could actually hold it in our hands—and even then only three-quarters of us would actually get a phone—would we still regard ourselves as customers after all those years? We would be something else. We would resemble more those “pre-employees” we hear about who have to pay for their own training than we would customers just buying things.

But there are several more basic reasons why students are not customers. First, most of them have been forced by law to attend school for 12 years before they arrive in a college classroom. If they went to public schools, they did not buy that schooling. In any case, they had no power over whether they went to school or not (even home-schooling is regulated). And when they enter universities, students are so conditioned by the feelings involved in being forcibly educated that they can hardly be said to feel free. (I don’t mean about which university they are in; I mean about being in a university at all.)

To say that an American university student has freely chosen to be educated is a bit like saying they have freely chosen to buy food to eat.

Further, they are graded. Customers are not. With rampant grade inflation in this country, effectively students are told whether they are suitable or not (given an A or a B). Over and over, they are told whether they are good enough to continue being told whether they are good enough. Even the most rigorous professions don’t require the kind of extensive, multifaceted performance-review structure that five graded courses a semester constitutes.

Now, to be asked to evaluate the performance of the person evaluating yours—that is psychologically complex. In the business world, my friends tell me that this is called the “360-degree performance review,” where bosses evaluate employees, and employees, in turn, evaluate bosses. But eventually, of course, you run out of bosses, and the “circle” closes. In universities, it doesn’t work that way. Students come and go, and professors generally remain.

In Europe generally, where universities are mostly free (though increasingly less so) and very difficult to get into, students are regarded not as consumers but as subjects needing either training or enlightenment. The life of the mind is valued and nurtured, or, alternatively, technical skills are passed on, depending on what kind of institution you go to. Grades are nowhere near as inflated, and student evaluations are regarded as formalities, like a form filled out for bureaucrats. Value is placed not on how students regard their professors but how professors regard their colleagues.

Teachers should evaluate the teaching skills of other teachers, regularly, as part of life, as part of what we do in our classrooms. Leaving it to amateurs doesn’t make sense. Leaving it to students is almost absurd.

I liked European attitudes toward student evaluations. But I wouldn’t want to live with them. They were dismayingly unhelpful. Still, students are not customers, and professors are not service providers. American universities use the myth of consumer power to sell themselves. Few professors are fired because of student evaluations—except those who are most vulnerable, that is, adjuncts at the very lowest rungs of the academic industry.

But all of us internalize the responses we get; we’re told to be tough inside when they are negative. We somehow believe them, as if they are truths objectively obtained. Students once ourselves, we hunger for grades and approval. Regardless of how many times our colleagues tell us not to worry over the bad evaluations, and not to let the good ones go to our heads, we are still very much students inside, seeking grades.

Continued in article

A Debate by Experts About Teaching Evaluations
"Professors and the Students Who Grade Them," The New York Times, September 17, 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
One of the experts is a man after my own heart:
Stuart Rojstaczer, a former professor of geology and civil engineering at Duke University, is the creator of of the Grade Inflation Web site. He is writing a book about undergraduate education in the U.S.

Grade inflation is, in my opinion, the Number One disgrace in higher education, and the major cause of grade inflation is the teaching evaluation process where students impact the promotion, tenure, and salary outcomes of their teachers.

Bob Jensen's threads on grade inflation and RateMyProfessor.com ---

"Some Russian Leaders Start to Fight Plagiarism," Inside Higher Ed, March 1, 2013 ---

Rumors abound in Russia that many top leaders have degrees that they didn't really earn, but some officials are starting to tackle the issue of plagiarism. Time reported that the deputy minister of education and science reviewed 25 dissertations at random from the history department at Moscow Pedagogical State University. With one exception, all were found to be extensively plagiarized, with some having as much as 90 percent of the material copied.

It's not clear that Vladimir Putin even read his own thesis
Large parts of an economics thesis written by President Vladimir Putin in the mid-1990s were lifted straight out of a U.S. management textbook published 20 years earlier, The Washington Times reported Saturday, citing researchers at the Brookings Institution. It was unclear, however, whether Putin had even read the thesis, which might have been intended to impress the Western investors who were flooding into St. Petersburg in the mid-1990s, the report said. Putin oversaw the city's foreign economic relations at the time.
"Putin Accused of Plagiarizing Thesis," Moscow Times, March 27, 2006 --- http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2006/03/27/011.html
Jensen Comment
What's interesting about this news item is that it was published in Moscow. This would not have happened in the old Soviet Union

Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism ---

"Yet Another Plagiarism Scandal in Germany," by Ana Dinescu, Inside Higher Ed, March 8, 2013 ---

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

What Is the plural of "Mister"?
What is the plural of "Mrs?"
What are the plural alternatives for "Ms.?

Answer in an email message from Mignon Fogarty (the Grammar Girl) on February 26, 2013

Two mist sprayers are misters, but two gentlemen are Messrs.-short for Messierus-as seen in this clip from an article in the Wall Street Journal.


The plural of Mrs. is Mmes. (short for Mesdames), and the plural of Miss is Misses. The plural of Ms. is less clear. Various sources report that the plural of Ms. can be Mses., Mss., or Mmes.

In American English, a period is required after the abbreviations; in British English, no punctuation is required after the abbreviations.

Visit my site to learn about more differences between British and American English.


Bob Jensen's helpers for writers ---

Summary of Good News and Bad News for the Week Ended March 1, 2011 by From Barry Ritholtz

Jensen Comment
The estimate of 750,000 jobs lost to sequestration seems wildly exaggerated. Estimates vary wildly. Any estimate, however, is small relative to the 12,298,303 currently unemployed workers in the USA ---
Note that the stock market climbed to a 52-week high on the day sequestration kicked in --- the sky will not fall as predicted by our President. And 750,000 jobs will not be lost --- not even close!

I also disagree that the Fed Asset Purchases (read that printing trillions of greenbacks under Quantitative Easing instead of taxing and borrowing) "outweigh the potential costs." This is treading on Paul Krugman's quicksand and misleads our nation's political leaders into thinking they can perpetually delay tax and spending reforms to reduce the deficit and save entitlements. Welcome to Zimbabwe of the West!



1. Bernanke: Benefits of Fed Asset Purchases are clear and outweigh the potential costs.
2. Dow Jones Industrial Average made new 52 week highs for 6th week in a row.
3. U.S ISM Manufacturing index climbed to 54.2 from 53.1 in January.
4. Initial jobless claims better than expected (344k vs 360k)
5. Ford posts best February sales since 2006
6. Chicago PMI jumps to 56.8 11 month high
7. Orders for durable goods rose 1.9% (Ex-transport), increasing for 5th consecutive month.
8. New Home sales surge 15.6%
9. Home Depot’s profit jumped 32%, proxy for housing recovery.
10. Case Shiller Home Prices climbed 6.8% v one year ago and 0.88% from a month ago. Largest year over year gain since 2006.
11. Pending home sales up 4.5% to the highest levels since April 2010
12. Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment climbed to 77.6 from 73.8 in January. Consumer Confidence jumps to 69.6 from 58.4


1. The VIX spiked 37% on Monday, it’s 11th largest one day spike
2. January personal income decreased 3.6%, the biggest one-month drop in 20 years.
3. AAII Investor bullish sentiment dropped 13.4 points to 28.4%, bears gained 4.1 points to 36.6%, highest readings for the bears since November. (Contrarians note this as a positive)
4. Dr. Copper declined to a 2 month low
5. European markets got hammered Monday with Spain off 5.5% and Italy off 5.7% on election outcomes.
6. China’s manufacturing is growing at the slowest pace in four months according to the HSBC flash PMI
7. The sequestration has arrived, an estimated 750,000 jobs will be lost.
8. Three of the four largest economies in Europe disappoint with weak PMI data. France 43.9, Italy 45.8, Spain 46.8. (below 50 = contraction).
9. US Q4 GDP increased 0.1% missing expectations of 0.5%
10. Kansas city fed manufacturing index whiffs at -10 vs estimates of -1.
11. Intraday spreads are widening. 6 out of the last 8 days have seen triple digit ranges in the Dow.

My longer form reading to start off your weekend:

• Are You an Investor or a Speculator? (Part One and Part Two)
• Goodbye Groupon: Andrew Mason’s dance with the devil (TheVerge)
• How “Golden Eagle Snatches Kid” Ruled The Internet (BuzzFeed)
• Rescuing Cesar (Men’s Journal)
• Flawed F-35 Fighter Too Big to Kill as Lockheed Hooks 45 States (Bloomberg) see also The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden… Is Screwed (Esquire)
Why the West Rules—for Now: The Shape of History (The Chronicle Review)
• Are We in Danger of a Beer Monopoly? (NYT)
• How Not To Be A Dick To Your Fat Friends (xojane)
• Cinema Tarantino: The Making of Pulp Fiction (Vanity Fair)
• “I’m Gonna Tell You What I’m Gonna Do”: What It Was Like To Guard Michael Jordan, According To Craig Ehlo (Deadspin)

"World Is In a Recession (Go about your business as usual)," by Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture, March 7, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Sorry Barry. As usual in Washington means Quantitative Easing. I'm not as enthralled with flooding the market with greenbacks as is Barry.

"This is America, Now: The Dow Hits a Record High With Household Income at a Decade Low," The Atlantic, March 5, 2013 ---

Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway Performs Worse Than the S&P 500

"Buffett Questions Performance as S&P 500 Beats Berkshire," by Antoine Gara, The Street, March 1, 2013 ---

For the first time, Warren Buffett appears concerned he will underperform the S&P 500 when it comes to his favorite way to peg the performance of his investing conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A_).

In Berkshire Hathaway's annual letter to shareholders, Buffett outlined why he is worried a rising stock market will put the firm's performance below that of the S&P 500 over a five-year stretch.

Such a scenario would be the first in Berkshire's history, indicating that even the 'Oracle of Omaha' is having trouble keeping up with rising markets.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Another consideration for the stock market under the Fed's Quantitative Easing will be how much are the returns after inflation. The USA is just not accustomed to inflation adjustments for reduced purchasing power of the USA dollar.

Learn to Code with Harvard’s Intro to Computer Science Course And Other Free Tech Classes --- Click Here

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

My March Calendar and Timber Harvesting

I just turned the page to my March 2013 calendar. Yes I do keep a monthly hard copy calendar on top of my main computer.

Even in retirement there is usually something filled in ahead of time in my monthly calendar --- usually medical-type appointments or dinner invitations for Erika and me.

March 2013 is totally blank, and I hope it stays that way.

I mention this as one of the genuine benefits to look forward to when you retire --- an occasional month of blanks.

Until the time comes, none of us will know what our calendar looks like after death.

As my mind rambles I'm watching about $4 million in heavy logging machinery work across the road. It's fascinating to watch how about an acre of mature trees can be toppled in roughly one hour. The plan is the clear cut about 30 acres. My views across the valley will will be improved, but there will be less color in front of my desk during foliage season. I do not own this land, but we are working to get the land put into a conservatory like the golf course behind our cottage has been put into a perpetual conservatory.

You can see the front line of trees being cut away in this picture taken from front lawn ---

Here's how the clear cutting operation works. I don't think the timber removal operators even own a chain saw.
Humongous machines with giant tires (wrapped in snow chains) carry whole trees up to an enormous chipping machine in front of my driveway. Trucks as large as the law allows back up to the chute on the chipping machine. Roughly 2-10 at a time whole trees are lifted by a crane into the other end of the chipping machine. It takes about 40 minutes to fill each 18-wheel truck. The chips are then carried away to mills that manufacture things like wood stove pellets, electric power, and plywood. On this job all those big trucks of chips are being taken to Pine Tree Power as biofuel for the generation of electric power. I did not check it out, but this type of fuel may not be allowed in California due to air pollution.

The timber harvesting companies are not making as much money these days since most of our pulp and paper mills have been shut down for good.

The larger logs (over a foot in diameter) are cut into 15-foot lengths and stacked onto open trailers. These are hauled off to lumber mills that manufacture construction lumber and/or hardwood veneer.

I suspect all this heavy equipment will be trucked away in less than a week.

The hardest things to get rid of are stumps. Since this land is not being developed for anything, the stumps will probably remain. If they were to be removed, giant Caterpillars would be brought in to commence the slow process of ripping the stumps out of the ground.

Trivia Question
Why do timber harvesting companies prefer the winter season?

In winter the ground is frozen into concrete. None of their machines get bogged down. In our thaw season (April-June) these timber harvesting companies shut down up here. In summer they're back at it, but they can be bothered by wetlands in the woods. Wetlands are less of a problem in the winter.


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 ---

Note that hedge funds are investment clubs (having less regulation mutual funds and investment banks)  that may have nothing to do with hedging ---

Here's an example of how two hedge fund insiders in different hedge funds might hedge. Note, however, that there is nothing fool proof about this strategy. One friction in the system is what we call a transaction cost.

Note that it's usually not smart to be "reckless on Wall Street, especially if you study a concept we call "mean reversion."

"Why It’s Smart to Be Reckless on Wall Street," by Chris Arnade, Scientific American, February 27, 2013 ---
Thank you Barry Ritholtz for the heads up.

Here is a guaranteed way to get paid well if you work on Wall Street. Find a best friend at a competing bank or hedge fund and take opposite sides of the same large bet. In one year’s time one of you will have a huge profit and get paid well. The other person will have lost and perhaps be fired. The sum of both your profits will be zero, but the sum of what you get paid will be positive. Split the pay.

This scheme is one of the more fanciful ways to exploit Wall Street’s compensation structure that pays absurdly well in the good years and just okay in the bad years. Losing money never means having to give anything back.

That asymmetry in pay (money for profits, flat for losses) is the engine behind many of Wall Street’s mistakes. It rewards short-term gains without regard to long-term consequences. The results? The over-reliance on excessive leverage, banks that are loaded with opaque financial products, and trading models that are flawed.

Regulation is largely toothless if banks and their employees have the financial incentive to be reckless.

How does Wall Street pay its employees? At the end of each year traders are paid a base salary and a bonus. The bonus, which fluctuates wildly, is usually a percentage of a trader’s profit. Some companies even pay a contractual amount, often between ten and fifteen percent. The average bonus of all employees is about three hundred thousand dollars but payments of $1 to $15 million are common. If traders lose they still get their base, often around two hundred thousand dollars. If their loss is great enough, they are fired. They never have to return money.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Note that the author of the above article is a physicist. Physicists are sometimes addicts in trading using models that they learned as physics students. This may be one of the reasons that this article appears in Scientific American rather than Financial Times.

It might be interesting to follow future comments on this article. Comments to date focus on moral hazards of insider day trading.

I don't agree that regulation must always be toothless. There are ways of regulating this behavior, one of which is to have the IRS share data with regulators.


February 28 reads linked by Barry Ritholtz

My afternoon train reads:

• Markets Saved by the Kid From South Carolina, Again (MarketBeat)
• The 40 Highest-Earning Hedge Fund Managers And Traders (Forbes) see also David Tepper Tops 2012 Hedge Fund Earnings (Forbes)
Michael Mauboussin: Think Twice (Outlook Business)
• Lazy Portfolios at war with Wall Street casinos (MarketWatch) see also The (Really) High Price Of Active Management (The Capital Spectator)
• Why It’s Smart to Be Reckless on Wall Street (Scientific American)
• The Consequences of Sequestration (The Diplomat) see also Austerity Kills Government Jobs as Cuts to Budgets Loom (NYT)
• Gold Bugs Need to Replenish the Hive (MarketBeat)
• Apple Should Stay Prudent With Cash: Analyst (MarketBeat) see also Apple’s ‘Very Active’ Cash Talks Won’t Assuage Investors (Bloomberg)
• Deficit hawks’ ‘generational theft’ argument is a sham (Los Angeles Times)
• When Diet Meets Delicious (NYT)

Bob Jensen's personal finance helpers are at

Billionaire Ex-Convicts Should Lie Low
"Martha Stewart Takes the Stand to Save Her Company," by Jeff Macke, Yahoo, March 5, 2013 --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's fraud updates ---

Zimbabwe printing of cash leads to Zimbabwe-like inflation that now prints $1 billion dollar bills. It takes more than one of these bills to buy one chicken egg.

Fed Buyback in "Quantitative Easing" = Zimbabwe-Style Printing of Dollars to Pay Government Bills Without Taxing or Borrowing

Bernanke declared he will continue printing trainloads of cash until the unemployment rate falls below 6.5%. That might take forever plus one day as manufacturing and service robot technology explodes across the USA.

This policy really discourages saving in less risky investments like bank CDs now paying way less than one percent per year

This policy is truly a tax on senior citizens who counted on living, at least in part, on the interest income of their investments. Due to the Fed's Quantitative Easing there is virtually no interest income on safe investments. Thus we have really taxed the savings of senior citizens and forced them to burn up savings capital in their retirement years.

Pension funds like TIAA will have to become less generous in providing retirement annuities to college employees who are hesitant to take on more fluctuating risk in annual retirement incomes that accompany stock market and real estate alternatives having more financial risk.

From the CFO Morning Ledger on February 26, 2013

Ben Bernanke isn’t budging in his support for continued bond buying. “Keeping long-term interest rates low has helped spark a recovery in the housing market and has led to increased sales and production of automobiles and other durable goods,” he said in his semiannual report to Congress yesterday.

Mr. Bernanke faced some hostile questioning from the Senate Banking Committee – particularly from Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), who told the Fed chief that his easy-money policies were sparking a global currency war and creating “faux” stock-market wealth. He also accused Mr. Bernanke of “throwing seniors under the bus” by pushing down interest rates and reducing their returns on savings. Mr. Bernanke was pretty perturbed by those comments, the WSJ’s Jon Hilsenrath notes. He shot back by pointing out that his record of keeping inflation low and stable is better than that of any Fed chairman since World War II. Today, Mr. Bernanke delivers the same remarks to the House Financial Services Committee, where he’s likely to get raked over the coals by other critics.

As we noted yesterday, low rates have played a big part in the pension woes companies are facing these days. But the low-rate environment also offers opportunities for companies to borrow cheaply and use the proceeds to make investments or return cash to shareholders. Home Depot Chief Financial Officer Carol Tomé — who also sits on the board of directors of the Atlanta Fed told CFOJ’s Maxwell Murphy that her company may borrow up to $4 billion to nearly double its expected 2013 share repurchases. So long as the after-tax cost of any new debt is less than the yield on Home Depot stock, a debt-fueled buyback is “just a good trade,” she said.

Jensen Comment
Bernanke declared he will continue printing trainloads of cash until the unemployment rate falls below 6.5%. That might take forever plus one day as manufacturing and service robot technology explodes across the USA.

This policy really discourages saving in less risky investments like bank CDs now baying way less than one percent per year.

This policy is truly a tax on senior citizens who counted on living, at least in part, on the interest income of their investments. Due to the Fed's Quantitative Easing there is virtually not interest income on investments. Thus we have really taxed the savings of senior citizens and forced them to burn up their capital in their retirement years.

Pension funds like TIAA will have to become less generous in providing retirement annuities to college employees who are hesitant to take on more fluctuating risk in annual retirement incomes that accompany stock market and real estate alternatives having more financial risk. I was lucky enough to acquire my TIAA lifetime annuities before these deals commenced to sower.

Zimbabwe printing of cash leads to Zimbabwe-like inflation that now prints $1 billion dollar bills. It takes more than one of these bills to buy one chicken egg. I suspect I will only live long enough to see the price of one egg in the U.S. soar to $100. I don't want to be young again.

Advice from The Washington Post's Barry Ritholz for Dealing With Quantitative Easing (February 27, 2013) ---

Yesterday’s testimony by Fed chair Ben Bernanke makes it clear that QE is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Rather than tilt at windmills, you need to accept this fact, and adjust accordingly.

Here are a few of the things that you should be doing in response to zero interest rate policy:

Refinance your home, locking in a 30 year fixed rate (if you can afford a 15 year fixed, do that). This is a no brainer and the best way to take  advantage of zero rates for most families.

Shorten the duration of your bond holdings. Rates will go up eventually, so those 10 year durations and longer should be 7 years max.

Buy or Lease a new car. (Ben wants you to) assuming you can afford to

Evaluate your risk assets:  Since the March 2009 lows, stocks are up over 100%. If you participated in most or all of this, congrats.  If you completely missed a move where equities doubled, you need to think about why. Perhaps its time to make suitable changes.

Anticipate and plan for the next correction: Monday’s 2% whackage should have made you think about what the next 10-20% move down will be like. What should your response be? What is it more likely to be? Anticipating panic decision-making in advance helps you avoid the worst of it.

Reduce/renegotiate any outstanding consumer debt. This is the worst sort of debt, used to pay for depreciating baubles. IUf you must, refinance it at lower rates.

• Are you a trader or an investor? Make the appropriate palns for your own timeline.  Traders don’t hold losers after their prices drop; Investors don’t flit in and out of markets.

Remember, review the emergency procedures in the card (seatback in front of you) when you are on the ground — not after an engine flames out at 30,000 feet.


"TBP Guide to Car Leasing & Buying," by Barry Ritholtz, Ritholtz Blog, February 26, 2013 ---

Jensen Caution
In the good old days when savings like CDs paid worthwhile interest rates, there was a better argument for leasing so that you could put your savings to work helping to make the lease payments. Thanks to the Fed's Quantitative Easing program you now make virtually nothing on your safe investments like bank CDs.. Hence, there may be more incentive to buy a car rather than lease. However, in the 21st Century, leasing deals have become much more attractive largely because dealers can borrow money a next to nothing interest.

Hence, it pays to look at the above TBP Guide before making a lease versus buy decision.

However, Bob Jensen is generally against buying or leasing a new car. Only once in my life did I buy a new car, and that was because of the Cash for Clunkers deal offered to me by the government. I think many people buy new cars when gently used cars are a better personal financing deal. I only recommend new cars for people who drive lots and lots or men who want to show off for the women.

Dilbert --- http://www.dilbert.com/

Dilbert's Accounting Trolls --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Dilbert_characters#Accounting_trolls

New Dilbert Character: Stanky Bathturd, IRS Agent ---

Dilbert Cartoons on Market Manipulations
"Scott Adams Discovers Market Manipulation," by Barry Ritholtz, Ritholtz Blog, March 2013 ---

Regular readers know I am a fan of Scott Adams, creator of the comic Dilbert and occasional commentator on a variety of matters.

He has a somewhat odd blog post up, titled, Here Come the Market Manipulators. In it, he makes two interesting suggestions: The first is to decry “market manipulators,” who do what they do for fun and profit to the detriment of the rest of us. The second is to say that these manipulators are likely to cause “a 20% correction in 2013.”

Let’s quickly address both of these issues: First off, have a look at the frequency of 20% corrections in markets. According to Fidelity (citing research from Capital Research and Management Company), over the period encompassing 1900-2010, has seen the following corrections occur:

Corrections During 1900 – 2010

5%:  3 times per year

10%:  Once per year

20%:  Once every 3.5 years

Note that Fido does not specify which market, but given the dates we can assume it is the Dow Industrials. (I’ll check on that later).

Note that US market’s have not had a 20% correction since the lows in March 2009. I’ll pull up the relevant data in the office, but a prior corrective action of 19% is the closest we’ve come, followed by a ~16% and ~11%.

As to the manipulators of the market, I can only say: Dude, where have you been the past 100 years or so?

Yes, the market gets manipulated. Whether its tax cuts or interest rate cuts or federal spending or wars or QE or legislative rule changes to FASB or even the creation of IRAs and 401ks, manipulation abounds.

In terms of the larger investors who attract followers — I do not see the same evidence that Adams sees. Sure, the market is often driven by large investors. Yes, many of these people have others who follow them. We need only look at what Buffet, Soros, Dalio, Icahn, Ackman, Einhorn and others have done to see widely imitated stock trades. But that has shown itself to be a bad idea, and I doubt anyone is making much money attempting to do so. And, it hardly leads to the conclusion that any more than the usual manipulation is going on.

Will be have a 20% correction? I guarantee that eventually, we will. Indeed, we are even overdue for it, postponed as it is by the Fed’s manipulation.

But I have strong doubts it is going to be caused by a cabal manipulating markets for fun & profit. It will occur because that’s what markets do . . .



Dilbert’s Unified Theory of Everything Financial’  (October 15th, 2006)

7 Suggestions for Scott Adams (November 27th, 2007)

Don’t Follow Wealthy Investors, Part 14 (February 17th, 2008)

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

Jensen Comment
You can also see a Dilbert cartoon about making up data ---

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting humor ---

Bob Jensen's Rotten to the Core threads ---

"Profs Fail iEtiquette 101," by Laurie Essig, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 27, 2013 ---

"Academic Jerks," by Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed, February 26, 2013 ---

Jensen Comments
Sometimes the best places to collect evidence is at faculty meetings that either become too boring or too heated. Faculty are renowned for making towering mountains out of mole hills, countering the hypothesis that matter cannot be created from nothing. I don't miss faculty meetings for any reason other than I sometimes enjoyed the humor of it all.

One thing that bothered me about faculty is they sometimes portray college administrators as the enemy. Most college administrators that I knew were faculty who took jobs that most faculty did not want. And while administrating those administrators counted the days until they could return to their old faculty posts.

. . . but with the current allocation of corn to ethanol and animal production, we end up with an estimated 3 million calories of food per acre per year, mainly as dairy and meat products, enough to sustain only three people per acre. That is lower than the average delivery of food calories from farms in Bangladesh, Egypt and Vietnam
"It’s Time to Rethink America’s Corn System:  Only a tiny fraction of corn grown in the U.S. directly feeds the nation’s people, and most of that is from unhealthy, high-fructose corn syrup," by Jonathan Foley, Scientific American, March 5, 2013 ---

Nothing dominates the American landscape like corn.

Sprawling across the Midwest and Great Plains, the American Corn Belt is a massive thing. You can drive from central Pennsylvania all the way to western Nebraska, a trip of nearly 1,500 miles, and witness it in all its glory. No other American crop can match the sheer size of corn.

So why do we, as a nation, grow so much corn?

The main reason is that corn is such a productive and versatile crop, responding to investments in research, breeding and promotion. It has incredibly high yields compared with most other U.S. crops, and it grows nearly anywhere in the country, especially thriving in the Midwest and Great Plains. Plus, it can be turned into a staggering array of products. Corn can be used for food as corn flour, cornmeal, hominy, grits or sweet corn. It can be used as animal feed to help fatten our hogs, chickens and cattle. And it can be turned into ethanol, high-fructose corn syrup or even bio-based plastics.

No wonder we grow so much of the stuff.

But it is important to distinguish corn the crop from corn the system. As a crop, corn is highly productive, flexible and successful. It has been a pillar of American agriculture for decades, and there is no doubt that it will be a crucial part of American agriculture in the future. However, many are beginning to question corn as a system: how it dominates American agriculture compared with other farming systems; how in America it is used primarily for ethanol, animal feed and high-fructose corn syrup; how it consumes natural resources; and how it receives preferential treatment from our government.

The current corn system is not a good thing for America for four major reasons.

The American corn system is inefficient at feeding people. Most people would agree that the primary goal of agriculture should be feeding people. While other goals—especially producing income, creating jobs and fostering rural development—are critically important too, the ultimate success of any agricultural system should be measured in part by how well it delivers food to a growing population. After all, feeding people is why agriculture exists in the first place.

Although U.S. corn is a highly productive crop, with typical yields between 140 and 160 bushels per acre, the resulting delivery of food by the corn system is far lower. Today’s corn crop is mainly used for biofuels (roughly 40 percent of U.S. corn is used for ethanol) and as animal feed (roughly 36 percent of U.S. corn, plus distillers grains left over from ethanol production, is fed to cattle, pigs and chickens). Much of the rest is exported. Only a tiny fraction of the national corn crop is directly used for food for Americans, much of that for high-fructose corn syrup.

Yes, the corn fed to animals does produce valuable food to people, mainly in the form of dairy and meat products, but only after suffering major losses of calories and protein along the way. For corn-fed animals, the efficiency of converting grain to meat and dairy calories ranges from roughly 3 percent to 40 percent, depending on the animal production system in question. What this all means is that little of the corn crop actually ends up feeding American people. It’s just math. The average Iowa cornfield has the potential to deliver more than 15 million calories per acre each year (enough to sustain 14 people per acre, with a 3,000 calorie-per-day diet, if we ate all of the corn ourselves), but with the current allocation of corn to ethanol and animal production, we end up with an estimated 3 million calories of food per acre per year, mainly as dairy and meat products, enough to sustain only three people per acre. That is lower than the average delivery of food calories from farms in Bangladesh, Egypt and Vietnam.

Only a tiny fraction of corn grown in the U.S. directly feeds the nation’s people, and most of that is from unhealthy, high-fructose corn syrup

In short, the corn crop is highly productive, but the corn system is aligned to feed cars and animals instead of feeding people.

There are a number of ways to improve the delivery of food from the nation’s corn system. First and foremost, shifting corn away from biofuels would generate more food for the world, lower demand for grain, lessen commodity price pressures, and reduce the burden on consumers around the world. Furthermore, eating less corn-fed meat, or shifting corn toward more efficient dairy, poultry, pork and grass-fed beef systems, would allow us to get more food from each bushel of corn. And diversifying the Corn Belt into a wider mix of agricultural systems, including other crops and grass-fed animal operations, could produce substantially more food—and a more diverse and nutritious diet— than the current system.

The corn system uses a large amount of natural resources. Even though it does not deliver as much food as comparable systems around the globe, the American corn system continues to use a large proportion of our country’s natural resources.

In the U.S., corn uses more land than any other crop, spanning some 97 million acres— an area roughly the size of California. U.S. corn also consumes a large amount of our freshwater resources, including an estimated 5.6 cubic miles per year of irrigation water withdrawn from America’s rivers and aquifers. And fertilizer use for corn is massive: over 5.6 million tons of nitrogen is applied to corn each year through chemical fertilizers, along with nearly a million tons of nitrogen from manure. Much of this fertilizer, along with large amounts of soil, washes into the nation’s lakes, rivers and coastal oceans, polluting waters and damaging ecosystems along the way. The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is the largest, and most iconic, example of this.

And the resources devoted to growing corn are increasing dramatically. Between 2006 and 2011, the amount of cropland devoted to growing corn in America increased by more than 13 million acres, mainly in response to rising corn prices and the increasing demand for ethanol. Most of these new corn acres came from farms, including those that were growing wheat (which lost 2.9 million acres), oats (1.7 million acres lost), sorghum (1 million acres lost), barley, alfalfa, sunflower and other crops. That leaves us with a less diverse American agricultural landscape, with even more land devoted to corn monocultures. And according to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, roughly 1.3 million acres of grassland and prairie were converted to corn and other uses in the western Corn Belt between 2006 and 2011, presenting a threat to the waterways, wetlands and species that reside there.

Looking at these land, water, fertilizer and soil costs together, you could argue that the corn system uses more natural resources than any other agricultural system in America, while providing only modest benefits in food. It’s a dubious trade-off—depleting natural resources to deliver relatively little food and nutrition to the world. But it doesn’t need to be that way. Innovative farmers are exploring other methods for growing corn, including better conventional, organic, biotech and conservation farming methods that can dramatically reduce chemical inputs, water use, soil losses and impacts on wildlife. We should encourage American farmers to continue these improvements.

The corn system is highly vulnerable to shocks. Although a large monoculture dominating much of the country with a single cropping system might be an efficient and profitable way to grow corn at an industrial scale, there is a price to being so big, with so little diversity. Given enough time, most massive monocultures fail, often spectacularly. And with today’s high demand and low grain stocks, corn prices are very volatile, driving spikes in the price of commodities around the world. Under these conditions, a single disaster, disease, pest or economic downturn could cause a major disturbance in the corn system.

Continued in article

The Health Care Market is Not a Market

"Video:  Inside ‘Bitter Pill’: Steven Brill Discusses His TIME Cover Story," Time Magazine, February 22, 2013 ---

Simple lab work done during a few days in the hospital can cost more than a car. A trip to the emergency room for chest pains that turn out to be indigestion brings a bill that can exceed the price of a semester at college. When we debate health care policy in America, we seem to jump right to the issue of who should pay the bills, blowing past what should be the first question: Why exactly are the bills so high?

Steven Brill spent seven months analyzing hundreds of bill from hospitals, doctors, and drug companies and medical equipment manufacturers to find out who is setting such high prices and pocketing the biggest profits. What he discovered, outlined in detail in the cover story of the new issue of TIME, will radically change the way you think about our medical institutions:

· Hospitals arbitrarily set prices based on a mysterious internal list known as the “chargemaster.” These prices vary from hospital to hospital and are often ten times the actual cost of an item. Insurance companies and Medicare pay discounted prices, but don’t have enough leverage to bring fees down anywhere close to actual costs. While other countries restrain drug prices, in the United States federal law actually restricts the single biggest buyer—Medicare—from even trying to negotiate the price of drugs.

· Tax-exempt “nonprofit” hospitals are the most profitable businesses and largest employers in their regions, often presided over by the most richly compensated executives.

· Cancer treatment—at some of the most renowned centers such as Sloan-Kettering and M.D. Anderson—has some of the industry’s highest profit margins. Cancer drugs in particular are hugely profitable. For example, Sloan-Kettering charges $4615 for a immune-deficiency drug named Flebogamma. Medicare cuts Sloan-Kettering’s charge to $2123, still way above what the hospital paid for it, an estimated $1400.

· Patients can hire medical billing advocates who help people read their bills and try to reduce them. “The hospitals all know the bills are fiction, or at least only a place to start the discussion, so you bargain with them,” says Katalin Goencz, a former appeals coordinator in a hospital billing department who now works as an advocate in Stamford, CT.

Brill concludes:

The health care market is not a market at all.
It’s a crapshoot. Everyone fares differently based on circumstances they can neither control nor predict. They may have no insurance. They may have insurance, but their employer chooses their insurance plan and it may have a payout limit or not cover a drug or treatment they need. They may or may not be old enough to be on Medicare or, given the different standards of the 50 states, be poor enough to be on Medicaid. If they’re not protected by Medicare or protected only partially by private insurance with high co-pays, they have little visibility into pricing, let alone control of it. They have little choice of hospitals or the services they are billed for, even if they somehow knew the prices before they got billed for the services. They have no idea what their bills mean, and those who maintain the chargemasters couldn’t explain them if they wanted to. How much of the bills they end up paying may depend on the generosity of the hospital or on whether they happen to get the help of a billing advocate. They have no choice of the drugs that they have to buy or the lab tests or CT scans that they have to get, and they would not know what to do if they did have a choice. They are powerless buyers in a sellers’ market where the only consistent fact is the profit of the sellers.


"Bitter Pill:  Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us," Time Magazine Cover Story, March 4, 2013, pp. 16-65 (a very long article)  ---

"Yes, Hospital Pricing Is Insane, But Why? Time magazine issues a 24,000-word memo on what we already knew," by Holman Jenkins Jr., The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2013 ---

Without diminishing the epic scope of Steven Brill's Time magazine piece about the U.S. health care system, he reiterates in lengthy detail perversities that are already well known, without offering a single useful insight on how it go that way, and even less on how to fix it.

Yet Mr. Brill, founder of CourtTV and American Lawyer magazine, author of books on terrorism and education, has written the longest piece in Time's history—24,000 words—so attention must be paid.

That health-care costs are inflated compared to what they would be in a reasonably transparent, competitive market (a point Mr. Brill never clearly makes) won't be a revelation. That hospitals allocate their costs to various items on their bills and price lists in ways that are opaque and arbitrary is not a new discovery either.

He finds it shocking that a hospital charging $1,791 a night won't throw in the generic Tylenol for free (instead charging $1.50 each). But this is to commit the reification fallacy of thinking there is some organic relationship between what a hospital charges for a particular item and what that item costs in the first place.

He dwells on the irrationality of hospitals charging their highest prices to their poorest customers, those without insurance. But he's also aware that these customers often pay little or nothing of what they are charged and hospitals reallocate the cost to the bills of other patients. He even notes that a hospital might collect as little as 18% of what it bills.

He vaguely gets that hospital price lists are memos for the file, to be drawn out and waved as a reference in negotiations with their real customers, the big health-care insurers, Medicaid, Medicare and other large payers.

The deals hammered out with these customers tend naturally to gravitate toward round numbers, leaving a hospital free to allocate its costs and profits to specific items however it wants. Mr. Brill may be offended that certain "non-profit" hospitals appear to be highly profitable. He probably wouldn't be happier, though, if they diverted their surplus revenues into even higher salaries and more gleamingly superfluous facilities.

"What is so different about the medical ecosystem that causes technology advances to drive bills up instead of down?" Mr. Brill asks. But his question is rhetorical since he doesn't exhibit much urge to understand why the system behaves as it does, treating its nature as a given.

In fact, what he describes—big institutions dictating care and assigning prices in ways that make no sense to an outsider—is exactly what you get in a system that insulates consumers from the cost of their health care.

Your time might be better spent reading Duke University's Clark Havighurst in a brilliant 2002 article that describes the regulatory, legal and tax subsidies that deprive consumers of both the incentive and opportunity to demand value from medical providers. Americans end up with a "Hobson's choice: either coverage for 'Cadillac' care or no health coverage at all."

"The market failure most responsible for economic inefficiency in the health-care sector is not consumers' ignorance about the quality of care," Mr. Havighurst writes, "but rather their ignorance of the cost of care, which ensures that neither the choices they make in the marketplace nor the opinions they express in the political process reveal their true preferences."

You might turn next to an equally fabulous 2001 article by Berkeley economist James C. Robinson, who shows how the "pernicious" doctrine that health care is different—that consumers must shut up, do as they're told and be prepared to write a blank check—is used to "justify every inefficiency, idiosyncrasy, and interest-serving institution in the health care industry."

Hospitals, insurers and other institutions involved in health care may battle over available dollars, but they also share an interest in increasing the nation's resources being diverted into health care—which is exactly what happens when costs are hidden from those who pay them.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Over a year ago Erika's Medicare-Anthem summary of charges for the month included an $11,376 charge for out patient surgery that was mistakenly billed to her account. We called our doctor who did the procedure in the hospital. Our doctor responded not to bother her or the hospital --- since Medicare-Anthem paid the entire bill it would not matter.

This bothered us since the woman (I assume it was a woman) may not have been eligible for Medicare-Anthem. So I phoned Medicare. Medicare said not to bother them and advised us to contact the hospital where the procedure took place. Any corrections should be made by the hospital and the doctor.

So I called the hospital's accounting office. They asked that I send in a copy of the Medicare-Anthem report. I hand-delivered the report to the the hospital accounting office --- which is miles from the hospital.

Over the ensuing year we waited for a corrected Medicare-Anthem report. Nothing! So I did a follow up visit to the hospital's accounting office. The feedback was that since Medicare-Anthem paid the bill there was no need to waste time correcting this item.

I keep thinking that some woman not eligible for Medicare got a windfall gain here. Who cares if it was Medicare-Anthem that got screwed?

Erika and I changed to a doctor that we like better. But we cannot change hospitals.

Moral of the Story
If the third party insurer gets billed mistakenly or pays too much nobody cares, least of all the doctors and hospitals who got reimbursed.

"Which Governments Spend the Most Per Capita on Government Healthcare: France, Italy, the United States, Sweden, Canada, Greece, or the United Kingdom?" by Daniel J. Mitchell, Townhall, February 22, 2013


See bar chart at

. . .

There are three big reasons why there’s more government-financed healthcare spending in the United States.

1. Richer nations tend to spend more, regardless of how they structure their healthcare systems.

2. As you can see at the 1:18 mark of this video, the United States is halfway down the road to a single-payer system thanks to programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

3. America’s pervasive government-created third-party payer system leads to high prices and costly inefficiency.

So what’s the moral of the story? Simple, notwithstanding the shallow rhetoric that dominates much of the debate, the United States does not have anything close to a free-market healthcare system.

That was true before Obamacare and it’s even more true now that Obamacare has been enacted.

Indeed, it’s quite likely that many nations with “guaranteed” health care actually have more market-oriented systems than the United States.

Avik Roy argues, for instance, that Switzerland’s system is the best in the world. And the chart above certainly shows less direct government spending.

And there’s also the example of Singapore, which also is a very rich nation that has far less government spending on healthcare than the United States.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Articles like this are controversial and misleading. Firstly, we may be comparing apples and kangaroos when it comes to the terms "health care" and "cost." Much of the USA health care "cost" gets buried in other accounts like "research" and "education." The many research universities in the USA are contributing tuition and state taxpayer money to fund biomedical science faculty and other science and engineering faculty who are doing medical research and development in one way or another. But these costs are treated as "education"  and "research" costs rather than medical costs.

An enormous proportion of what the USA includes in costs of medical care is really the cost of fraud that other nations, especially those with either free market or nationalized coverage, avoid much more efficiently and effectively. The frauds are especially high in Medicare billings for our aged and disabled such as billings for nonexistent medical equipment and $6,384 cost of an aspirin administered inside a hospital.

Much of what gets billed as "medical care" in the USA is the massive cost of malpractice insurance, costs which nations like Canada with national health care cover much more efficiently and effectively by leaving out the lawyers salivating over punitive damages.

In the USA and Mexico much of the cost of geriatric and disability care is borne by patient savings and family earnings that does not pass through governmental or third-party insurance "medical care" accounts.. In nations with nationalized medicine like Norway such costs are more apt to be called "medical costs."

In the USA most patients like me bear their own eye care and dental billings out-of-pocket and are not captured in governmental "medical care" accounts. In many other nations the costs of these services pass through governmental accounts.

The USA spends (usually under Medicare) hundreds of billions on patients that are terminally ill, often extending their lives uselessly for weeks or a few months in intensive care and cardiac care units. Most other nations save this money by letting nature run its course for dying patients and/or facilitating euthanasia. CBS Sixty Minutes ran a module on this under the title "The High Cost of Dying" in the USA.

Similar discrepancies arise for extremely premature and/or underweight new babies that are not saved in most nations outside the USA.

The above comparison of nations by Daniel Mitchell is mostly an example of the many attempts (such as poverty and unemployment) to make international comparisons on variables that are inconsistently defined and subject to enormous measurement error and variation between nations


"Sandwich Generation: What are our Ethical Obligations to Care for our Aged-Parents and Children?" by accounting professor Steven Mintz, Ethics Sage, January 25, 2013 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on health care are at


"An Autopsy of a Dead Social Network:  Following the collapse of the social network Friendster, computer scientists have carried out a digital autopsy to find out what went wrong," MIT's Technology Review, February 27, 2013 ---  Click Here

A study reveals that many Twitter followers might in fact not be human

From the Scout Report on November 16, 2012

Beware the tweeting crowds

How fake are your Twitter followers?

Analysis of Twitter followers of leading international companies

Status People Fake Follower Check

Twitter Guide Book

The Beginner's Guide to Social Media

Bob Jensen's threads on social networking ---

"What Is Boolean Algebra?" by Jason Marshall, The Math Dude, March 1, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Jason points out that what sounds formidable at first blush often turns out to be quite simple. Boolean algebra really is quite simple. Of course some things that sound formidable really are formidable --- like topology and mathematics of over 1,000 types of derivative financial instrument speculation trading and hedging strategies.

My experience is that what I feared most about difficulty in mathematics was more fear itself before I dug deeper into the topics that initially scared me. However, I did not want to spend a lifetime of proof making among angels on the head of a pin.

There are also different degrees of talent in mathematics. I was never very good with math puzzles. However, I somehow mastered a sizable portion of the mathematics of derivative financial instruments. I found that visualizing functions made mathematics a whole lot easier. One of my visualization helpers on hedging strategies can be found at
Note the tabs to separate spreadsheets at the bottom of the page

Dennis Rodman --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Rodman

Jensen Comment
I lived in San Antonio when he played for the Spurs (he's also played for the d for the Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks). He's a dirty player with a vile temper who angers his teammates as much as his opponents with his craziness. It was humorous to see his hair colored every shade of pastel imaginable. You can count me out as one of his fans.

However, this morning it riled me to see news commentators, especially on Fox News, maligning him for every bad thing he's ever done and calling him ignorant because he knows virtually nothing about the Korean War, the DMZ, nuclear physics, etc. Actually, I think he's been handling the press quite well in this unexpected bridge of basketball between the world and North Korea.

If Dennis Rodman is our only hope of staving off World War III --- hey be nice to him and give him credit where credit is due. He's accomplished more in a week than Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton accomplished in years and years and years.

From the Scout Report on February 22, 2013

Online OCR --- http://www.onlineocr.net/ 

For those with scanned documents that would be more useful in editable form, Online OCR offers a free, high-quality solution. Users can simply upload an image (JPG, JPEG, BMP, TIFF, GIF, and non-editable PDF are all accepted), then choose the language and preferred output format. At the free level, the service will convert 14 images per hour, but those who are satisfied with the service and require more frequent conversion may purchase a membership.

WordTalk --- http://www.wordtalk.org.uk/Home/

The WordTalk plugin works with Microsoft Word to create a audio version of text documents. The plugin speaks the text of the document and highlights it along the way. It also contains a talking dictionary so that users can decide which word spelling is most appropriate. One of the intended audiences for this device is children who might be having trouble with reading and writing. This version is compatible with all computers running Microsoft Word.

After a meteor crash, a type of "gold rush" outside a Russian town

The gold rush begins for fragments of Russian meteor selling for up to
£6500 each as astronomers warn UK had a lucky escape

Meteorite fragments spark Russia's newest gold rush

Russian Meteor Blast Bigger Than Thought

NASA: Russia Meteor Not Linked to Asteroid Flyby

Top 5 Uses for Meteorites

Meteor Detection


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

Education Tutorials

A Master List of 700 Free Courses From Great Universities ---
The Free Courses Search Site ---
There appear to be no free online accounting or business courses.
Some of the advertising disturbs me --- such as online Ph.D. programs with no GMAT required --- to me a red flag.
However many of the free courses appear to be legitimate (although not free for credit)

Center for Research and Reform in Education --- http://education.jhu.edu/research/crre/

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

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

Magnifying the Universe: Move From Atoms to Galaxies in HD ---

National Science Foundation: Science of Innovation --- http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/innovation/

Teach Engineering: Physics --- http://www.teachengineering.org/search_results.php?simple=physics

NOAA: Images, Visualizing Data, Marine Geology & Geophysics Division --- http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/image/

Women in Science

50 Great Examples of Data Visualization ---
Bob Jensen's threads on visualization of multivariate data ---

The Second Look Series (Histology, Cells)  http://open.umich.edu/education/med/resources/second-look-series

Scientists Turn a Weed Into Corn (Genetics)
Weed to Wonder --- http://www.weedtowonder.org/

Cells Alive --- http://www.cellsalive.com/

Food: Transforming the American Table, 1950-2000 --- http://americanhistory.si.edu/food-introduction

NOAA: Great Lakes Eco-Region ---  http://www.education.noaa.gov/Freshwater/Great_Lakes_Eco-Region.html

From the Scout Report on February 22, 2013

After a meteor crash, a type of "gold rush" outside a Russian town

The gold rush begins for fragments of Russian meteor selling for up to
£6500 each as astronomers warn UK had a lucky escape

Meteorite fragments spark Russia's newest gold rush

Russian Meteor Blast Bigger Than Thought

NASA: Russia Meteor Not Linked to Asteroid Flyby

Top 5 Uses for Meteorites

Meteor Detection

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

Food: Transforming the American Table, 1950-2000 --- http://americanhistory.si.edu/food-introduction

Discovering American Women's History Online --- http://digital.mtsu.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/women

Sophia Smith Collection: Women's History Archives at Smith College --- http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/digitalcoll.html

Women in Science --- http://womeninscience.history.msu.edu/

By Popular Demand: "Votes for Women" Suffrage Pictures, 1850-1920 --- http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/vfwhtml/vfwhome.html 

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

Women's Legal History --- http://wlh.law.stanford.edu/

The Lloyd L. Gaines Collection (Law History) --- http://digital.library.umsystem.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?page=home;c=gnp

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

Math Tutorials

"What is Pi?" by Jason Marshall, The Math Dude, March 8, 2013 ---

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

History Tutorials

Judith Drake (scholar on barriers to women in physical and mental work, including accounting) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Drake

Eight Special Women of Accounting --- http://www.journalofaccountancy.com/Issues/2007/Aug/EightSpecialWomenInAccounting.htm

Among the AICPA-donated volumes at Ole Miss are two binders containing photographs of individuals appearing in the JofA or at accounting conventions from 1887 to 1979. Of the 446 individuals featured, eight are women—Christine Ross, Ellen Libby Eastman, Miriam Donnelly, Mary E. Murphy, Helen Lord, Helen H. Fortune, Mary E. Lewis and Beth M. Thompson. In a time when the profession was the all-but-exclusive domain of men, they stood out not only because of their gender but in many cases because of their accomplishments and contributions to accounting. Consider that in 1933, slightly more than 100 CPA certificates had been issued to women. By 1946, World War II had changed traditional notions of gender in the workplace, and female CPAs had more than tripled to 360—still a small contingent but, as information gleaned from the AICPA Library indicates, one capable of exerting a strong and beneficial influence on the profession.

Christine Ross

Born about 1873 in Nova Scotia, Ross took New York by storm in the late 1890s. New York state enacted licensure legislation in 1896 and gave its inaugural CPA exam in December 1896. Ross sat for the exam in June 1898, scoring second or third in her group. Six to 18 months elapsed while her certificate was delayed by state regents because of her gender. But she had completed the requirements and became the first woman CPA in the United States, receiving certificate no. 143 on Dec. 21, 1899.

Ross began practicing accounting around 1889. For several years, she worked for Manning’s Yacht Agency in New York. Her clients included women’s organizations, wealthy women and those in fashion and business.

Helen Lord
Lord received her CPA certificate from New York in 1934 and in 1935 joined the American Society of Certified Public Accountants, which merged with the American Institute of Accountants (later AICPA) the following year. In 1937, she was a partner with her father in the New York firm of Lord & Lord and a member of the AIA. She served in the late 1940s as business manager of The Woman CPA, published by the American Woman’s Society of Certified Public Accountants–American Society of Women Accountants. Lord reported the journal then had a circulation of more than 2,200.

Helen Hifner Fortune
Fortune, one of the first women CPAs in Kentucky, received certificate no. 174 in 1935 and was admitted to the AIA the following year. She became a member of an AIA committee in 1942 and by 1947 was a partner in the Lexington, Ky., firm of Hifner and Fortune.

Ellen Libby Eastman
Eastman began her career as a clerk in a Maine lumber company, eventually becoming chief accountant. She studied for the CPA exam at night and became the first woman CPA in Maine, receiving certificate no. 37 dated 1918. She was also the first woman to establish a public accounting practice in New England. Arriving in New York in 1920, Eastman focused on tax work and audited the accounts of the American Women’s Hospital in Greece. In 1925, she was a member of the ASCPA. In 1940, Eastman began working with the law firm of Hawkins, Delafield & Longfellow in New York.

She was outspoken and eloquent regarding a woman’s ability to succeed in accounting. In a 1929 article in The Certified Public Accountant, Eastman recounted her adventures:

One must be willing and able to endure long and irregular hours, unusual working arrangements and difficult travel conditions. I have worked eighteen out of the twenty-four hours of a day with time for but one meal; I have worked in the office of a bank president with its mahogany furnishings and oriental rugs and I have worked in the corner of a grain mill with a grain bin for a desk and a salt box for a chair; I have been accorded the courtesy of the private car and chauffeur of my client and have also walked two miles over the top of a mountain to a lumber camp inaccessible even with a Ford car. I have ridden from ten to fifteen miles into the country after leaving the railroad, the only conveyance being a horse and traverse runners—and this in the severity of a New England winter. I have done it with a thermometer registering fourteen degrees below zero and a twenty-five mile per hour gale blowing. I have chilled my feet and frozen my nose for the sake of success in a job which I love. I have been snowbound in railroad stations and have been stranded five miles from a garage with both rear tires of my car flat. I have ridden into and out of open culvert ditches with the workmen shouting warnings to me. And always one must keep the appointment; “how” is not the client’s concern.

Mary E. Murphy
A long-lived pioneer, Murphy (1905–1985) lectured, researched and taught in the United States and abroad, retiring in 1973. The Iowa native earned her bachelor of commerce degree with a major in accounting from the University of Iowa in 1927, then obtained a master’s in accountancy in 1928 from Columbia University Business School. In 1938, she received a doctorate in accountancy—only the second woman in the United States to do so—from the London School of Economics.

In 1928, Murphy began working in the New York office of Lybrand, Ross Bros. & Montgomery. Two years later, she took the CPA exam in Iowa and received certificate no. 67, to become the first woman CPA in Iowa. She joined the AIA in 1937.

Following her public accounting stint, she served for three years as the chair of the Department of Commerce at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind. Murphy also was an assistant professor of economics at Hunter College of the City University of New York until 1951. In 1952, she received the first Fulbright professorship of accounting, with assignments in Australia and New Zealand. In 1957, she was appointed as the first director of research of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia. Murphy retired in 1973 from the accounting faculty at California State University.

She published or collaborated on more than 20 books and 100 journal articles and many book reviews and scholarly papers. From 1946 to 1965 she was the most frequently published author in The Accounting Review. Murphy investigated the role of accounting in the economy, made the case for accounting education improvements and paved the way for other aspiring women accountants to prosper. More than half her publications explored international accounting, often advocating standardization. She also emphasized accounting history and biographies.

Mary E. Lewis
Lewis received California CPA certificate no. 1404 in 1939. She was admitted to the AIA that year and by 1947 had her own firm in Los Angeles.

Beth M. Thompson
Thompson worked as the office manager in the Kentucky Automobile Agency she and her husband, Charles R. Thompson, owned. After closing the car business, they moved to Florida, where she worked for an accounting firm. She passed the CPA exam in 1951 with the encouragement of her husband and opened her own accounting business in Miami. In 1955, Thompson was one of only 900 women CPAs and the only female president of a state association chapter—the Dade County chapter of the Florida Institute of CPAs.

Miriam Donnelly
From 1949 to 1955, Donnelly was head librarian of the AIA library. (In 1957, the AIA was renamed the AICPA.) She began her career with the library as assistant librarian and cataloger in 1927, after working for two governmental libraries and the New York Public Library.


History of women accountants in the 1880. US Federal Census ---

Christine Ross (The First Woman CPA) --- Click Here

Mary Jo McCann (First Woman CPA in Kansas) ---

Bertha Aldrich (First Woman CPA in California) --- http://boards.ancestry.com/surnames.aldrich/600/mb.ashx

Accounting Reform (search for women) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accounting_reform

American Society of Women Accountants --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Cambridge#Women.27s_education

Accounting and Financial Women's Alliance --- http://www.afwa.org/

Accounting History Libraries at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) --- http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/accountancy/libraries.html
There are many items pertaining to accounting women in history, especially in the Accounting Historians Journal

Ruth Andersen, First Woman on the Board of a Big Four Accounting Firm --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Anderson_%28accountant%29

Erma Bombeck (a termite control accountant at an advertising agency) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erma_Bombeck

Cynthia Cooper (Internal auditor who blew the whistle at WorldCom) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynthia_Cooper_%28accountant%29

Lynn Brewer was never enough of a player to even mention in my threads on the Enron scandal
The foul mouthed Sherron Watkins was the significant whistleblowers at Enron

Grace Andrews (early mathematician and accountant in Barnard College) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Andrews_%28mathematician%29

Patricia Courtney (IRS agent and professional baseball star) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patricia_Courtney

Patrecia Barringer (Tax accountant, auditor, and professional baseball star) ---http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patricia_Barringer

Helen Nordquist (Telephone operator, accountant, and professional baseball star) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Nordquist

Rita Lee (Accounting Student Tennis Star) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janet_Lee

Diane Cummins (Canadian Accountant Track Star) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diane_Cummins

Sue Hearnshaw (British Chartered Accountant and Long Jump Star) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sue_Hearnshaw

Betty Wagner Spandikow (Accountant Who Became an Advocate of Breast Feeding) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_Wagner_Spandikow

Jennifer Archer (Oil and Gas Accountant Turned Fiction Writer) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Archer


Women in Business --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_business

American Business Women Association --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Business_Women%27s_Association

9 to 5 Film --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9_to_5_%28musical%29

Career Women --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Career_woman

A History of Entrereneurship
"Who Are The Entrepreneurs: The Elite or the Everyday Man? A History of Entrepreneurship," by Heather A. Haveman, Jacob Habinek, and Leo A Googman, UC Berkeley,  2011 ---
 Who Are The Entrepreneurs: The Elite or the Everyday Man? A History of Entrepreneurship

China's Tiger Woman Billionaires ---

"Liz Claiborne Must Say Adieu to Liz," by: Dana Mattioli, The Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2011 ---

"New Questions on Women, Academe and Careers," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, September 22, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/09/22/women

Barbara Franklin (one of the first graduates of the Harvard Business School) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Franklin

History of Feminism --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_feminism
Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mich%C3%A8le_Pujol

National Organization for Women (NOW) --- http://www.now.org/
For example, search for "Accounting" in the search box

Women's Work --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_work 

Teachers, Accountants, and Physician Women as Slaves in Ancient Rome ---

Conduct Literature for Women, 1500-1640, eds. William St Clair & Irmgard Maassen (6 Volumes) (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2000).

Conduct Literature for Women, 1640-1710, eds. William St Clair & Irmgard Maassen (6 Volumes) (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2002).

History of Women in the United States --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_women_in_the_United_States

The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America ---  http://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/schlesinger-library

Women's suffrage in the United Kingdom --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_suffrage_in_the_United_Kingdom 

By Popular Demand: "Votes for Women" Suffrage Pictures, 1850-1920 --- http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/vfwhtml/vfwhome.html

Women's Rights --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_rights
Title 15 of the United States Code ---  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Title_15_of_the_United_States_Code
Title 9 of the United States Code --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Title_9_of_the_United_States_Code
Women's Sports --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_sports

Famous Women in History --- http://www.historynet.com/famous-women-in-history

National Women's Hall of Fame --- http://www.greatwomen.org/
Note that some states also have hall of fame sites for women inductees

Women in Islam ---

Sharia (search for the sections pertaining to women) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia

Women's Rights Movement in Iran --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_rights_movement_in_Iran

Women in Saudi Arabia --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saudi_Arabia

Women in Libya --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_Libya


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

Women of Singapore --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_Singapore

Women's Roles in World Wars --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_roles_in_the_World_Wars
Women in the Military --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_the_military
Yugoslav Partisans --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yugoslav_Partisans
The story of women bomber pilots from the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladies_Courageous

Rosie the Riveter --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosie_the_Riveter

Victorian Dress Reform --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorian_dress_reform

Women's Educational and Industrial Union --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_Educational_and_Industrial_Union H

Women in Science --- http://womeninscience.history.msu.edu/

Discovering American Women's History Online --- http://digital.mtsu.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/women

International Museum of Women http://www.imow.org/home/

Women in Scotland --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Dundee
Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_early_modern_Scotland

 Helena Marfell, First President of the Country Women's Association of Australia ---

Women and Mormanism --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_and_Mormonism

WomenWatch: UN Information and Resources on Gender Equality and Empowerment --- http://www.un.org/womenwatch/

Sophia Smith Collection: Women's History Archives at Smith College --- http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/digitalcoll.html

Wisconsin Women's History --- http://womenst.library.wisc.edu/bibliogs/wis-women-history.html

Women in Prison --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicole_Hahn_Rafter

Women in Prison Film --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WIP

Women in the Ku Klux Klan --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ku_Klux_Klan

Women on Death Row --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_debate_in_the_United_States

Gifts of Speech: Women's Speeches from Around the World --- http://gos.sbc.edu/

Women's Legal History --- http://wlh.law.stanford.edu/

The Frances Perkins Center --- http://francesperkinscenter.org/

Chicago Women's Liberation Union Herstory Project --- http://www.cwluherstory.org/

David Foster Wallace’s 1994 Syllabus: How to Teach Serious Literature with Lightweight Books --- Click Here

National Women's History Project http://www.nwhp.org/

African-American Women: Online Archival Collections --- http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/collections/digitized/african-american-women/

Women Artists of the American West --- http://www.cla.purdue.edu/WAAW/MainIndex.html

Women's Colleges --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_colleges

Women at Harvard --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvard_University#Women
Radcliff  College--- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radcliffe_College

Cambridge University --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Cambridge#Women.27s_education

Society of Women's Health Research --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_for_Women%27s_Health_Research

Films Made by Women --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_cinema

Lesbian Pulp Fiction --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesbian_pulp_fiction

Smithsonian Education: Women's History Teaching Resources

Teaching with Historic Places: Women's History Lesson Plans --- http://www.nps.gov/nr/twhp/mar99.htm

Algerian Women in France --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algerian_women_in_France

Barack Obama Supreme Court Candidates --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama_Supreme_Court_candidates

Women in India --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_India

Women in Saudi Arabia --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saudi_Arabia

Women in Libya --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_Libya

Feminism in Thailand --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminism_in_Thailand

Women in Taiwan --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_Taiwan

Gender Inequality in China --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_inequality_in_China

China's Tiger Woman Billionaires ---

Gender Pay Gap in Russia --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_pay_gap_in_Russia

Economic Inequality --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_inequality

Gender Pay Gap --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_pay_gap

From the Scout Report on March 1, 2013

The movement for equal pay for women continues to gain steam across the
United States

Equal pay for women battle gains traction in New York

Getting equal pay could become easier for women

State Senator Wendy Davis Wants to Bring Federal Fair Pay Laws for Women to

Wage gaps destroy employee morale, productivity

Here We Go Again: The Long (and Frustrating) Journey of Equal Pay for Women

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009

National Association of Black Accountants --- http://www.nabainc.org/

Some Accounting History Sites

Bob Jensen's Summary of Accounting History and Accounting Theory --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory01.htm

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


FOUND: A New Collection of Rare Photos from the National Geographic Archives ---

Digital Scholarship Lab (history research, especially Civil War history) --- http://dsl.richmond.edu

W.H. Auden’s 1941 Literature Syllabus Asks Students to Read 32 Great Works, Covering 6000 Pages --- Click Here

Can you tell a book by it's cover? --- http://www.dezimmer.net/Covering Lolita/LoCov.html

Arthur Conan Doyle Fills Out the Questionnaire Made Famous By Marcel Proust (1899) --- Click Here

The Lloyd L. Gaines Collection (Law History) --- http://digital.library.umsystem.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?page=home;c=gnp

Silver Buckle Press Collection (History of Letter Press Printing With a Wisconsin Theme) ---  http://uwdc.library.wisc.edu/collections/SilverBuckle

The Museum of Printing History --- http://www.printingmuseum.org/

Kalamazoo College: Digital Archive (Photographs) --- http://reason.kzoo.edu/dspace/

Food: Transforming the American Table, 1950-2000 --- http://americanhistory.si.edu/food-introduction

Chicago Transit Authority: Public Art --- http://www.transitchicago.com/assets/1/public_art/Public_Art_Book_Web.pdf

NOAA: Great Lakes Eco-Region ---  http://www.education.noaa.gov/Freshwater/Great_Lakes_Eco-Region.html

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  

Fun Facts About CPAs --- http://gordoncpablog.wordpress.com/2009/04/10/56/

Before a standard numbering system was developed, ancient accountants used clay tokens to keep track of animals and grain.

- The State of New York gave the first CPA exam in 1896.

- The first African American CPA was John Wesley Cromwell, Jr., licensed in 1921. John went on to lead a very successful career after he became the controller of Howard University in 1930.

- Bubble gum was reportedly invented in 1926 by Walter Diemer, a twenty-three year old accountant for the Fleer Corporation. The gum was pink because it was the only food coloring in the factory when the young accountant was experimenting with the gum recipes in his spare time.

- Al Capone may have been the first American to make $100 million a year, but the law finally caught up with him in 1931. Special Agents from the IRS charged him with tax evasion. Accountants were responsible for ending the crime czar’s career.

- Oscar winners always remember to thank their agents, fans, and co-stars, but they should also thank their CPAs. Accountants have controlled the ballots for the Academy Awards every year since 1935. A team of nine CPAs spend up to 1,700 hours prior to Oscar night counting the ballots cast in each category by hand.

- Arthur Blank, co-founder of the Home Depot and owner of the Atlanta Falcons, is a CPA.

- Ray Wersching, who was the kicker of the San Diego and San Francisco 49ers from 1973-1987, was a CPA during the off-season.

- John Grisham, author of A Time to Kill, The Firm, and many other popular novels, received his undergraduate degree in accounting from Mississippi State University in 1981.

- Former Texas Rangers Manager Kevin Kennedy, a CPA, did his players’ tax returns to make extra money when he managed in the minor leagues.

- Nearly 1,400 of the FBI’s special agents are accountants. In fact, the #2 man at the FBI, Thomas Pickard, is a CPA.

- In 1902, a competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 per year.

- Christine Ross, the first woman CPA in the U.S., received her New York state CPA certificate in 1899.

- The original due date to file individual tax returns was March 1. It changed to March 15 in 1918, and finally to April 15 in 1955


Language Tutorials

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

Music Tutorials

Édith Piaf’s Moving Performance of ‘La Vie en Rose’ on French TV, 1954 --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

Bob Jensen's threads on music performances ---

Writing Tutorials

David Foster Wallace Breaks Down Five Common Word Usage Mistakes in English ---

Seven Tips From William Faulkner on How to Write Fiction ---

This is the "whole ball of wax"
"Crazy English Idioms," by Mignon Fogarty, Grammar Girl, March 7, 2013 ---

Ebonics and Why It is controversially the Required Language Skill in the Oakland School System Rather Than Standard American English ---

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

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

February 27, 2013

February 28, 2013

March 2, 2013

March 4, 2013

March 5, 2013

March 6, 2013

March 7, 2013

March 8, 2013

March 9, 2013

March 11, 2013

March 12, 2013

March 31, 2013


FOLK NEUROSCIENCE Popular misconceptions ---
Scroll down for the listing of the misconceptions.

Ask the Diva: Is Powdered Creamer a Heart-Healthy Choice?
The answer in short is No!

"The Business Case for Healthier Food Options In recent years, they have generated more than 70% of the growth in sales for packaged-goods companies," by Michelle Obama, The Wall Street Journal, February 27, 2013 ---

For years, America's childhood obesity crisis was viewed as an insurmountable problem, one that was too complicated and too entrenched to ever really solve. According to the conventional wisdom, healthy food simply didn't sell—the demand wasn't there and higher profits were found elsewhere—so it just wasn't worth the investment.

But thanks to businesses across the country, today we are proving the conventional wisdom wrong. Every day, great American companies are achieving greater and greater success by creating and selling healthy products. In doing so, they are showing that what's good for kids and good for family budgets can also be good for business.

Take the example of Wal-Mart WMT +0.77% . In just the past two years, the company reports that it has cut the costs to its consumers of fruits and vegetables by $2.3 billion and reduced the amount of sugar in its products by 10%. Wal-Mart has also opened 86 new stores in underserved communities and launched a labeling program that helps customers spot healthy items on the shelf. And today, the company is not only seeing increased sales of fresh produce, but also building better relationships with its customers and stronger connections to the communities it serves.

Wal-Mart isn't alone in discovering that healthier products sell. Disney DIS +1.08% is eliminating ads for junk foods from its children's programming and improving the food served in Disney theme parks. Walgreens is adding fresh fruits and vegetables to its stores in underserved communities. And restaurants around the country are cutting calories, fat and sodium from menus and offering healthier kids' meals.

These companies and so many others are responding to clear trends in consumer demand. Today, 82% of consumers feel that it's important for companies to offer healthy products that fit family budgets, according to the Edelman public relations firm. Meanwhile, a study conducted by Nielsen revealed that even when many families are operating on tight budgets, sales of fresh produce actually increased by 6% in 2012. And in 2011, the Hudson Institute reported that in recent years, healthier foods have generated more than 70% of the growth in sales for consumer packaged-goods companies—and when these companies sell a high percentage of healthier foods, they deliver significantly higher returns to their shareholders.

These trends don't just matter for businesses that produce and sell food. They matter for every business in America. We spend $190 billion a year treating obesity-related health conditions like diabetes and heart disease, and a significant portion of those costs are borne by America's businesses. That's on top of other health-related costs like higher absenteeism and lower worker productivity, costs that will continue to rise and threaten the vitality of American businesses until this problem is solved once and for all.

That's why American businesses are stepping up to invest in building a healthier future for our kids. In doing so, they are joining leaders from every sector across the country. Over the past few years, through Let's Move!—our nationwide campaign to help kids grow up healthy—we've seen teachers bringing physical education back into schools. We've seen mayors building safe spaces where children can play, faith leaders educating their congregations about healthy eating, and parents preparing healthier meals and snacks for their kids. And we've seen Republicans and Democrats working together in Congress to pass groundbreaking legislation to improve school lunches.

And we're starting to see real results. In Mississippi, obesity rates have dropped by 13% for elementary school-aged kids. States like California, and cities like New York and Philadelphia, have also seen measurable declines in childhood obesity.

So it's clear that we are moving in the right direction. But we also know that the problem is nowhere near being solved. We need more leaders from all across the country to step up, and I stand ready to work with business leaders who are serious about taking meaningful steps to forge a healthier future. We need every business in America to dig deeper, get more creative, and find new ways to generate revenue by giving American families better information and healthier choices. We know this can be done in a way that's good for our kids and good for businesses.

That's why, even though we still have a long way to go, I have never been more optimistic about our prospects for solving this problem. And I am confident that, with leadership from America's business community, we can give all our children the bright, healthy futures they so richly deserve.



If you're debt limit is maxed out, here's one way to get another loan ---

Forwarded by Paula

Statements seen on job applications.




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.

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