Tidbits on March 28, 2013
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

This week I feature Set 4 of my favorite Snow Photographs
Plus some great snow photographs from Russia




More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories


Tidbits on March 28, 2012
Bob Jensen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big History: David Christian Covers 13.7 Billion Years of History in 18 Minutes ---

The Ultimate Elvis --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8fjHJbF9Es&feature=player_embedded

Wild Mountain Gorillas ---

A Penquin Photo Op With Great Music --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=SkY03n0_sD8&vq=medium

A Beautiful Golf Course for Disabled Veterans --- http://www.youtube.com/embed/RoY2gyyIYL4?feature=player_detailpage

Oral History in the Digital Age --- http://ohda.matrix.msu.edu/

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

Tchaikovsky Flashwaltz at Hadassah Hospital ---

The Classical Pianist With 55 Million YouTube Hits ---

Thelonious Monk, Legendary Jazz Pianist, Revealed in 1968 Cinéma Vérité Film ---

A Penquin Photo Op With Great Music --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=SkY03n0_sD8&vq=medium

According to Scott Bonacker JoJo is a tax preparer in Glendale CA. Very nice music, perfect for the video.---

Carnegie Hall MOOC Will Teach You How to Listen to Orchestras (Free) ---

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

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

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

Bob Jensen listens to music free online (with commercials) --- http://www.slacker.com/ 

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

Photographs and Art

Paris Panorama --- http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1QGIv5/www.gillesvidal.com/blogpano/paris.htm/

Surreal Satellite Images of Earth --- http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2013/03/surreal-satellite-images-of-earth/

Dubai’s Iconic Skyline as You Rarely See It ---

Musee des Horreurs (Lithographs) ---  http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/museedeshorreurs/

Top 75 "Pictures of the Day" ---

The ABC of Architects: An Animated Flipbook of Famous Architects and Their Best-Known Buildings --- Click Here

The Lewis Walpole Library (Yale's library of political caricatures) --- 

The Center for Cartoon Studies --- http://www.cartoonstudies.org/

Newspaper Pictorials: Word War I Rotogravures --- http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/rotogravures/

World War One ( World War I ) Color Photos --- http://www.worldwaronecolorphotos.com/

World War I Photographic History in a French Village
Remember Me: The Lost Diggers of Vignacourt --- http://www.awm.gov.au/exhibitions/remember-me/

North Bay Historic Preservation Digital Collection (Sonoma State University region) ---

The Life and Controversial Work of Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe Profiled in 1988 Documentary ---

LA County Museum Makes 20,000 Artistic Images Available for Free Download ---

Climb Three of the World’s Highest Peaks on Google Street View ---

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

Donald Barthelme’s Syllabus Highlights 81 Books Essential for a Literary Education ---
Jensen Comment
I guess Barthelme would classify me as illiterate. I am reading Susan Sontag's diary. And I have read most of Flannery O'Connor's writings.
What happened to Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Trevor, Falkner, Conrad, and the magnificent English and Irish poets apart from Shakespeare?
Perhaps the 81 items

Kenneth S. Goldstein Audio Recordings (Folklore) --- http://clio.lib.olemiss.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/kg_audio

Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore --- http://louisdl.louislibraries.org/cdm4/browse.php?CISOROOT=/ACC

Words Like Sapphires: 100 Years of Hebraica at the Library of Congress (Hebrew and Yiddish) ---

Big History: David Christian Covers 13.7 Billion Years of History in 18 Minutes ---

Google Art Project --- http://www.googleartproject.com/ 

"A History of Reading," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, October 26, 2012 ---

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

Today’s FBI: Facts and Figures 2013-2014—which provides an in-depth look at the FBI and its operations—is now available ---

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 28, 2013

The USA's National Debt is Now Over $16 trillion and spinning out of control --- http://www.usdebtclock.org/
Note that this greatly understates both long-term and short term obligations due to unbooked commitments like Federal crop insurance to farmers, weather disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and hundreds of tornados per year, and future Social Security, Obamacare, Medicare, and Medicaid entitlements.

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

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

15 Popular Advertisements Popular in the USA That Became Disasters in Other Nations, Business Insider, March 25, 2013 ---

Is Bob Jensen a hypocrite?
I feel like a hypocrite since from the first year in my first faculty appointment I had at least one less course assignment than my colleagues --- teaching two courses per term instead of three or even four like the people up and down the hall were teaching. And I was the highest paid faculty member on the floor in each of the four universities where I had faculty appointments. Forty years later I was teaching the same light loads as well as during all 38 years in between except for the various semesters I got full pay for teaching no courses due to sabbatical leaves and two years in a think tank at Stanford University.

Now I sympathize with arguments that those other faculty (and me) really should have been teaching more across the entire 40 years. I can hear some of you saying:  "That's easy for you to say now --- while you are sitting with a eastward view of three mountain ranges and teaching not one course."

The race to teach less has not served us well, and student-to-faculty ratios were driven more by U.S. News & World Report's [annual rankings] than by rigor," [Gene Nichol (North Carolina)] said. "Professors don't teach enough. The notion that [teaching more] would cripple scholarship is not true and we know it. ...
Tax Prof Blog, March 14, 2013 --- http://taxprof.typepad.com/

Law Schools are cutting expenses in expectation of smaller class sizes. While most can't think of cutting tuition in this environment, the actions they take during the next few years could determine whether legal education moves toward a more affordable future. ...

"The race to teach less has not served us well, and student-to-faculty ratios were driven more by U.S. News & World Report's [annual rankings] than by rigor," [Gene Nichol (North Carolina)] said. "Professors don't teach enough. The notion that [teaching more] would cripple scholarship is not true and we know it." ...

[T]he primary problem facing most law schools is what to do with all the faculty they have on staff. ... "Laying off untenured [faculty] would be very destructive," [Brian Tamanaha (Washington U.)] said. "They are teaching important skills and valuable classes."

Tamanaha said the better option is to offer buyouts to tenured professors. "We will see schools offer separation packages -- one or two year's compensation if you go now," he said. "The only people interested in a buyout would be people with sufficient retirement funds or professors with practices on the side." Vermont Law School and Penn State University Dickinson School of Law have discussed similar steps. ...

Brian Leiter, a law professor at the University of Chicago Law School who runs a blog on legal education, has predicted that as many as 10 law schools will go out of business during the next decade.

Rather than face closure, law schools could take more drastic steps -- even overcoming tenure. When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Tulane University declared financial exigency and eliminated entire departments -- terminating tenured professors. The same action has happened at other universities faced with economic hardships.

"If you say this is a tsunami of a different kind -- the 100 year flood -- then a dean could let go of faculty," another law professor said. For example, a school could choose to eliminate nonessential specialties, such as a tax law program, and terminate most faculty in those areas.

In addition to eliminating tenured positions, a dean could reduce salaries out of financial necessity. "Schools under severe financial pressure may be faced with an even starker option -- closing their doors," Tamanaha said. ...

Nichol said all law schools should reconsider their current salary structures, and not just schools in the worst economic position. "In the same way that the market for graduates is adjusting, it would not be absurd for our salaries to adjust as well," he said. "I don't see why our leave packages should be more generous than other parts of the campus. We will have to fix that now before we forced to."

Nichol said schools should consider eliminating sabbaticals, trimming travel and reducing summer research grants. "Every school needs to look line by line for where it can cut costs," [David Yellen (Dean, Loyola-Chicago)] said. Faculty travel, conferences and other things can add up to a couple of professors salaries."

Jensen Comment
And I darn well "know it." I think I do all this free academic blogging in large measure out of guilt. I need to give something back!

Franco Modigliani --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco_Modigliani
Trinity University has a program for bringing all possible former Nobel Prize winning economists. In an auditorium they were not to discuss technicalities of their work as much as they were to summarize their lives leading up to their high achievements. One of the most inspiring presentations I can remember was that of Franco Modigliani.

What I remember most is that he asserted that some of his most productive years of research and scholarship came during the years he was teaching five different courses on two different campuses.

The Academy increasingly coddled researchers with more pay, large expense funds, the highest salaries on campus, and lighter teaching loads. I'm not certain that they, me included, were not coddled far too much relative to the the value of the sum total of their (including my) work. I think not! The sum total may have been as high or higher if they were teaching four courses per term (maybe not five).

Bob Jensen

Reply from Jagdish Gangolly


You are not alone. A colleague of mine at Albany, a mathematician in the Management Sciences department, who taught mathematics at Brown before coming to Albany was saying the same thing. He was most productive when he taught heavy loads.

Teaching and writing are probably the most demanding of intellectual tasks (unless of course you are resigned to teaching because you must). Even research nowadays is, thanks to statistical packages and abundant databases, by comparison a mundane task.

I was not as lucky as you were; I taught the usual 2 courses each semester except for the sabbaticals. But one semester I taught five courses, by happenstance. Two masters courses in accounting (an auditing and an AIS course), two doctoral seminars in (Knowledge Organization and in Statistical Natural Language Processing) Information Science, all at SUNY Albany, and an MBA management accounting course at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. And, strange as it may seem, that was my most productive year in research. I have never been as ready for summer in my life as at the end of that semester.



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

"It's Time for Tenure to Lose Tenure," by James C. Wetherbe, Harvard Business Review Blog, March 13, 2013 --- Click Here

Jensen Comment
There are quite a few serious movements under foot to eliminate tenure ---

I'm not so concerned about kissing tenure goodbye as a dysfunctional relic of the past. However, there are some arguments that I accept for tenure to carry on in fine universities.

In fact I am truly saddened by the way assistant professors now game for tenure ---

Tenure is not entirely dysfunctional. Without some incentives to turn over faculty we will have departments, schools, and even entire universities that become even more atrophied with a long-term set of faculty that only gets a new blood transfusion in a blue moon. Those with younger tenured faculty become stagnant for many, many years.

Some universities with tenure systems that have been reluctant to deny tenure are faced with such atrophy. For example, Brown University is considered to be too locked into tenured faculty relative to its Ivy League cohorts

The one advantage of a tenure system is that I most admire is that it forces universities after 7-10 years (depending upon their 6-9 year annual evaluation policies) to seriously consider whether the tenure candidate is really worthy of carrying on in a particular university for a very, very long time. The weakest tenured faculty will be the ones who probably will stay on the longest --- we call them lifetime associate professors. Without being forced to make hard decisions after 6-9 years, universities without tenure systems will be inclined to let young Bob just hang on because he's meeting his classes and getting good teaching evaluations for his popular, albeit easy courses where the median grade is an A grade to keep his students happy.


Monkey See Monkey Do
"Jane Goodall apologizes for lifting passages from Wikipedia for her new book," by Elizabeth Foster, National Post, March 20, 2013 ---

Jane Goodall, the primatologist famous for her painstaking research, has apologized for including dozens of passages without attribution in her new book.

Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants is an exploration of the critical role nature plays in our world. The book’s focus on plant life is a departure for Goodall, whose expertise has long been primates.

While much of the book details Goodall’s personal experiences and opinions, sections ranging from a sentence to entire paragraphs were borrowed from websites like Wikipedia without attribution or footnotes.

Jensen Comment
Especially read the comments.

Jane Goodall purportedly lifted verbatim sections from Wikipedia and various other documents. Admissions such as this are bound to raise questions about the integrity of the researcher in all other works, particularly the gathering of data.

Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarisms of famous people are at

Plagiarism on Wikipedia

Hi Richard,

How could there not be some plagiarism on Wikipedia or any other encyclopedia for that matter having thousands of module authors or, in the case of Wikipedia, millions of anonymous authors?

A problem for hard copy encyclopedias is that they are commercial (seeking profits) and printed on paper such that detected plagiarisms cannot be eliminated in the books that are already shelved around the world. Wikipedia has two advantages. Firstly, it's non-profit and secondly it's only online such that detected plagiarisms can be, and are, eliminated immediately. Another advantage is that in most instances of plagiarism online, the legal practice is generally to first request removal before filing any lawsuits. Lawsuits are usually filed when there are demonstrable money damages for breach of copyright, especially continued breach of copyright. This most likely, in the case of Wikipedia, is very hard to demonstrate to a sufficient degree in court to justify the cost of an army of lawyers needed to take it to court.

The fact that YouTube and Wikipedia continue to survive indicates that lawsuits have not yet destroyed these services. Of course YouTube, unlike Wikipedia, is a for-profit site owned by Google. Wikipedia is non-profit. I suspect that keeping porn and personal libel stuff out of these two sites is a bigger problem than plagiarism.

There is a research site called Wikipedia Watch ---

This site examines the phenomenon of Wikipedia. We are interested in them because they have a massive, unearned influence on what passes for reliable information. Search engines rank their pages near the top. While Wikipedia itself does not run ads, they are the most-scraped site on the web. Scrapers need content — any content will do — in order to carry ads from Google and other advertisers. This entire effect is turning Wikipedia into a generator of spam. It is primarily Google's fault, since Wikipedia might find it difficult to address the issue of scraping even if they wanted to. Google doesn't care; their ad money comes right off the top.

For example, it did not take long, using the Google and Yahoo engines, to find 52 different domains that scraped Wikipedia's page on rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. Interestingly, Google listed more than four times the number of duplicate scrapes than Yahoo. This could be related to the fact that 83 percent of these scraped pages carry ads — almost always ads from Google. Some of these scrapes are template-generated across different domains, suggesting that they are created by programs. At that point zombie PCs might be dispatched to click on the ads.

Jimmy Wales, the man behind Wikipedia, probably approves of this practice. After he made a fortune in futures trading, he started up Bomis.com in the mid-1990s. Bomis was one of the first sites to scrape the ad-free Open Directory Project, and turn it into a huge mass of paid links and ads, mixed together with porn.

Another problem is that most of the administrators at Wikipedia prefer to exercise their police functions anonymously. The process itself is open, but the identities of the administrators are usually cloaked behind a username and a Gmail address. (Gmail does not show an originating IP address in the email headers, which means that you cannot geolocate the originator, or even know whether one administrator is really a different person than another administrator.) If an admin has a political or personal agenda, he can do a fair amount of damage with the special editing tools available to him. The victim may not even find out that this is happening until it's too late. From Wikipedia, the material is spread like a virus by search engines and other scrapers, and the damage is amplified by orders of magnitude. There is no recourse for the victim, and no one can be held accountable. Once it's all over the web, no one has the power to put it back into the bottle.

Studies suggest plagiarism at about 1-3% for Wikipedia modules but I don't put much faith on this estimate because Wikipedia is such a dynamic and changing database.

There is also an enormous denominator effect due to the massive volume of sentences (billions and billions?) that are not plagiarized such that dividing by such a number  is almost like dividing by infinity.

Here's an example on a Wikipedia plagiarism detection study ---

. . .

Another reason my one percent figure is conservative is that my average of 2.38 sentences per article undoubtedly missed a lot of plagiarized content. If the entire Wikipedia article was plagiarized, I should have caught it. But frequently a couple of paragraphs only are plagiarized, and my sentences could have been from non-plagiarized portions of the Wikipedia article. Finally, I assumed that the original content was still online, and that Google indexed it, and that Google's algorithm performed well enough to produce it.


Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism ---

How Could Our Academy Let Such a Horrible Thing Happen?
It's bad enough that the University of Colorado hired a non-tenured conservative, but now this.

"Florida Gulf Coast Has An Unapologetically Pro-Capitalist Economics Department, And Every Student Gets A Copy of Ayn Rand," by Tony Manfield, Business Insider, March 25, 2013 ---

The Great Challenge of Integer Programming's Travelling Salesman Problem
Back in the days I was teaching mathematical programming at the University of Maine, one of really big mathematical challenges of the day was to discover an efficient algorithm for The Travelling Salesman Problem that was poorly named and should have been called the shortest routing problem. Solutions to this interger programming challenge have wide-reaching applications in mathematics, management science, and operations research. As computing capacity increased, brute force solutions comparing all possible routing alternatives became feasible for smaller networks. But for large networks, the problem became more like mapping chess moves where no computer on earth could handle a brute force problem efficiently in reasonable time and cost.

"Shrinking Blob Computes (satisficing) Traveling Salesman Solutions:  A blob of “intelligent” goo can compute solutions to one of the most famous problems in mathematics and produces a route map as well, say computer scientists," MIT's Technology Review, March 25, 2013 --- Click Here

Jensen Comment
Optimization with convex space solution alternatives, like linear programming problems, are generally efficient to solve for very, very large problems. This is not the case for most integer programming problems because the solutions space is not convex. The above blob solution is unbelievable. Really


Labor Hoarding --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underemployment

"Housing has been booming! Construction jobs haven’t. Here’s why," by Neil Irwin, The Washington Post, March 19, 2013 ---

. . .

Key to understanding the sluggish growth in construction jobs is a concept called “labor hoarding.” That’s what happens during a recession when companies don’t fire as many workers as the decline in business would seem to have justified. Firms don’t want to lose all their quality workers and then be unable to keep up with demand when business finally turns around, so they keep people on staff even when there is not enough work to keep them fully busy.

This seems to have happened on a large scale in construction in the last few years. Kris Dawsey and Hui Shan at Goldman’s economics research group calculated that the economic value added per construction worker fell from $80,000 in 2006 to under $60,000 at the end of 2012. That is labor hoarding in a nutshell.

But because construction companies never fired as many workers as the collapse in their business would have justified, that means that over the last year, they haven’t needed to hire additional workers to keep up with the uptick in business.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I think an even bigger reason that a housing boom is disappointing for reducing unemployment is the way housing contractors outsource much of the construction work to skilled tradesmen who are self-employed and not included in the employment-unemployment data generated by the government ---

For example, such things as basement construction, plumbing, electrical wiring, bricklaying, siding, roofing, landscaping, swimming pool installation, etc. are outsourced mainly for reasons of not having to pay benefits to employees and unemployment insurance. The self-employed subcontractors often hire unskilled and unreported helpers in the underground market where no benefits like health care, Social Security, Unemployment Compensation, and Medicare payments must be paid.

In San Antonio, for example, hundreds and hundreds of workers, many undocumented, crowd selected street corners in south San Antonio waiting for subcontractors to pick them up for day work. Their self-employed bosses have the trade skills, but they need helpers who do not have to be so skilled. The one fringe benefit is that unskilled workers often learn tricks of the trade, like bricklaying, and eventually become their own self-employed subcontractors.

I replaced my roof twice in San Antonio with the same roofing company over a period of 24 years. My roofing contractor did not have a single employee on the books and did not go up on the roof himself after the day he estimated the price of each job. I never met any of his workers who could speak much, if any, English. However, some of them who worked for my contractor were regulars over the years who became quite skilled at roofing.  I was happy with their work even if I always hated having a flat roof next to enormous live oak trees, I grew very tired of having to rake and blow leaves from my roof in San Antonio. In what remains of my life I will never again own a house with a flat roof or swimming pool.

CPE for Judge Judy
"7 Bizarre State Laws That Hit The Books This Year," by Paul Szoldra, Business Insider, March 23, 2013 ---
Note this is a slide show.
You can't have sex with a state pension fund in Illinois until it is brought back to life..
What a bummer --- prison guards are no longer allowed to have sex with prisoners in California.
That was such a "fringe benefit" before now.

"Should Casey Anthony be allowed to Profit from a Book on Her Life? Is it Wrong to Sell a Book and Profit after a not-guilty Verdict?" by Accounting Professor Steven Mintz, Ethics Sage, March 22, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
I don't see how you can stop this as long as the book is classified as fiction. Actually, she perhaps did commit some crimes that might raise questions about getting rich on the death of her daughter --- such as perjury and disposing the body in a secret place rather than reporting the drowning to the police.

There's great moral hazard in setting legal precedent if she's allowed to get rich on book about the death of her daughter. We can imagine fraudsters so desperate to make millions that they will intentionally commit crimes for the main purpose of authoring a book that will make them rich. In other words, the crime like murder may be motivated by future book sales.

The real fraudster will have not committed the crime and withholds key evidence of innocence that's not disclosed until late in the trial. For example, Casey might have had a video of her daughter's drowning by accident in the swimming pool. She may have shrewdly withheld that video until the closing moments of her exceedingly sensational trial. Of course she did not have such a video, but if she did have this video there's real moral hazard for holding back on the evidence.

It's somewhat questionable whether a large and reputable publishing house would take on her book. The public backlash might be explosive, especially if Nancy Grace leads the charge to boycott the publisher's every book.

There might also be some local backlash for bookstores who shelve any Casey Antony book.


When do you stop calling  Thunderbird University a not-for-profit university?
"Thunderbird Joins With For-Profit to Offer New Programs," by Louis Lavelle, Bloomberg Businessweek, March 18, 2013 ---

In an unusual partnership, Thunderbird School of Global Management today announced it is forming a partnership with a for-profit educational provider, Laureate Education, to offer educational programs around the world.

Thunderbird, in Glendale, Ariz., offers graduate business degrees, including its flagship global MBA, as well as online programs and nondegree executive education programs. Laureate Education, in Baltimore, serves more than 750,000 students through campus-based and online programs in 29 countries.

While the terms of the deal are still being hammered out, Thunderbird says the two institutions will create a jointly owned entity that will open instructional sites in a number of international locations. Among those being considered are Madrid, Paris, Santiago, Chile, and São Paulo, Brazil.

The partnership, which is expected to be finalized in June, will allow Thunderbird to expand its online and executive education offering and to offer an undergraduate business program for the first time in more than 50 years. Thunderbird said it will continue to operate as a private, not-for-profit educational institution and retain control of its curriculum, faculty, and admission standards.

Larry Edward Penley, Thunderbird’s president, says Laureate has 200,000 students studying business around the world, and 30,000 would qualify for admission to Thunderbird. The partnership gives Thunderbird the ability to recruit those students and expand enrollment in Arizona. He expects total enrollment will triple in five years, to more than 3,000 students. He also expects the 50/50 partnership to generate enough cash flow to allow Thunderbird to expand faculty and facilities to make that possible.

“We believe there will be profits that we can reinvest in Thunderbird,” Penley says. “It will allow us to hire faculty, improve facilities, and start new programs.”


Jensen Comment
If the Thunderbird campus carries on some for-profit activities on campus such as admitting students for Laureate Education and providing online instructors will local jurisdictions continue to grant full property tax exemption?

To what extent can Thunderbird participate in for-profit courses and global profit sharing with Laureate and still  retain its tax-exempt status for state and Federal income taxes?

In particular, if Laureate itself pays no USA income taxes, to what extent can Thunderbird declare shared profits are tax exempt in the USA?

"Choosing a Cloud," by Helen Gooch, T.H.E. Magazine, March 20, 2013 ---

"Hands-on Experiences," T.H.E. Magazine, March 20, 2013 ---

"The Value of a Good Visual: Immediacy," by Bill Franks, Harvard Business Review Blog, March 21, 2013 ---

Visualization of Multivariate Data (including faces) ---

Corporate Welfare: Something that will never ever be disclosed on MSNBC or NBC Nightly News

Makes me wonder if California will fold, call, or up the stakes?
"Tentative state budget includes ‘Jimmy Fallon’ tax credit to lure ‘The Tonight Show’ back to New York," by Kenneth Lovett, New York Daily News, March 21, 2013 ---

Call it the Jimmy Fallon tax credit.

Quietly tucked into tentative state budget is a provision that would help NBC move “The Tonight Show” back to New York, the Daily News has learned.

The provision would make state tax credits available for the producers of “a talk or variety program that filmed at least five seasons outside the state prior to its first relocated season in New York,” budget documents show.

In addition, the episodes “must be filmed before a studio audience” of at least 200 people. And the program must have an annual production budget of at least $30 million or incur at least $10 million a year in capital expenses.

In other words, a program exactly like “The Tonight Show.”

The iconic program is not identified by name in the documents, but reports are circulating that NBC is preparing to replace host Jay Leno with Fallon and move the granddaddy of late-night TV shows back to New York, which it left in 1972.

NBC is building Fallon a new studio at 30 Rockefeller Plaza — but it has not announced that it will relocate “The Tonight Show” from California.

New York already gives companies producing movies or television series in the state a tax credit equal to 30% of production costs. It costs the state $420 million in revenue a year.

But under current law, only shows that start up in New York are eligible for the credit — not shows that relocate to the state.

Jensen Comment
Corporate welfare is a depressing business.
Makes me wonder if MSNBC or the NBC Nightly News will ever mention this deal?
Yeah right!

 Hypocrites one and all.

"Job Interview Questions That Will Catch You Off Guard," by Marissa Brassfield, Payscale, March 12, 2013 --- Click Here

Job interview questions are often standard, allowing you to prepare all your answers before you meet with your new potential employer. But some companies like to ask questions that throw you completely off-guard.

Randy Garutti, the CEO of burger franchise Shake Shack, asks potential new employees to predict the future: "If we're sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it's been for you in this role, what did we achieve together?" Garutti says the point of this question is to see if interviewees have done their homework. In fact, he actually wants them to interview him. "The candidate should have enough strategic vision to not only talk about how good the year has been but to answer with an eye towards that bigger-picture understanding of the company."

Meanwhile, Ryan Holmes, the CEO of social media tool HootSuite, wants candidates to use their imaginations. He often asks, "What's your superpower? and "What's your spirit animal?" His current executive assistant answered the second question, saying a duck because they seem calm, but underneath the surface they are always moving. "I think this was an amazing response and a perfect description for the role of an EA," Holmes says.

The CEO of recruiting software Bullhorn, Art Papas, already knows a lot about finding the right candidates, so he asks a question that most employers never think about: "What things do you not like to do?" Papas says it often takes a few tries before an interviewee is willing to answer honestly, but the answer reveals a lot about candidates and shows if they are really cut out for the job.

Eric Ripert, chef and co-owner and Le Bernardin in New York City, likes to keep the creative process going in job interviews. He looks for certain characteristics like discipline and passion by making the interview more of a conversation. "I ask indirect questions about the creative process, about articulating and demystifying the process of creating great food and great service. Then I trust my instincts," he says.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment

My economist colleague, Bill Breit, always like to ask:
"If you could have a long private dinner with any person living or dead, who would you choose and why?"
The important answer is not so much who but why.

Accounting professor Joe Hoyle likes to ask:
"What is the best book you ever read?"

"What Is the Best Book You Ever Read?" by Joe Hoyle, Teaching Blog, June 23, 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
Firstly I don't like this question because many readers who answer this question, especially in public, will be trying to say something about themselves instead of the book. To your Mom and your kids, the best book you ever read had better be The Bible or The Quran.

To your blog audience the best book you ever read from cover to cover had better be Toynbee's ten-volume set ---

Secondly, such a question should be asked in one of a hundred or more contexts. What is the best book you ever read in accounting history, financial accounting, cost accounting, tax accounting, accounting information systems, history of computing, learning and cognition, etc.

What is the best mystery novel you've ever read, the best romantic novel you ever read, the best biography you ever read, and on and on and on.

Beware of those oral interviews when applying for a job or college admission or membership in an exclusive club. Be prepared for those trick questions such as the examples given below:

In the end the choices at the top and bottom of your lists on most any topic are just too close together to rank. And your choices are not locked in time or place.

Of course my favorite set of books is Toynbee's ten-volume set.
Oops! Sorry Mom, I overlooked The Bible.

Bob Jensen's threads on careers are at

An Illustration Where Critics Like Me Can Get it All Wrong on Non-Traditional Innovations

Blade Runner: The Pillar of Sci-Fi Cinema that Siskel, Ebert, and Studio Execs Originally Hated --- Click Here

Jensen Comment
I actually did not care for Blade Runner when it came out and still don't care for it much.

"Law Professors See the Damage Done by ‘No Child Left Behind’," by Michele Goodwin, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 12, 2013 ---

. . .

Bernstein explained, “I want to warn you of what to expect from the students who will be arriving in your classroom, even if you teach in a highly selective institution.”

He was right to warn us, except for one error: Those students have already arrived. Very bright students now come to college and even law school ill-prepared for critical thinking, rigorous reading, high-level writing, and working independently.

Bernstein described what many college professors and even graduate-school professors have come to know firsthand. For more than a decade, a culture of test taking and teaching to the test has dominated elementary and secondary education in the United States, even at elite public and private schools. And now its effects are being felt by professors.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Seems like law schools are seeing more of the damage done by four years of undergraduate education in college.

Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes (Johnny Cash) ---

Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes Lyrics

Drink to me only with thine eyes
And I will pledge with mine.

Or leave a kiss within the cup

And I'll not ask for wine.
he thirst that from the soul doth rise

Doth ask a drink divine;

But might I of Jove's nectar sip,
 I would not change for thine.

"The Meaning of the Google Glass Backlash:  Has a product ever provoked as much hostility before even hitting the market as Google’s geek specs are generating? There’s something special about the eyes," by Brian Bergstein, MIT's Technology Review, March 14, 2013 --- Click Here

Jensen Comment
On the bright side it hides crow's feet and droopy eyelids.

"Careers in Academe:  What's Happening in the Academic Workplace?" Chronicle of Higher Education, March 2013 ---

Career issues in academe have, perhaps, never been more on the forefront than they are today. The job crisis facing many disciplines--too many Ph.D.'s and too few tenure-track openings--has shaken up academic departments, prompting calls for reform. While reforms are being debated, job candidates in a highly competitive market need help--practical advice from people who've been there. And departments need help--guiding their graduate students or handling their own searches. That's where this special report comes in. Here we offer articles written by academics, for academics, about a range of career challenges in academe. We thank the writers for their advice. We hope it will help you devise a strategy for your own career, prepare your graduate students for the market, or manage a search process.

Jensen Comment
Change is in the air ever since Colorado hired a conservative faculty member --- even if it is a non-tenured appointment.

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

You can make a sheep drink, but you can't lead him to water (and green pastures)
"New Zealand’s Worst Drought in 30 Years May Cost NZ$2 Billion," Bloomberg, March 17, 2013 ---

At the start of an exam, a student openly wondered, "But Professor Einstein, this is the same exam question as last year!" To which the great man supposedly replied, "Correct, young man, but we need to find new answers."
Werner Reinartz --- http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/03/measuring_creativity_we_have_t.html

A Retirement Crisis is Brewing

How would you like to retire with a small nest egg that cannot earn as much as one percent per year in a safe investment?

If you lock up a minimum of $100,000 for five years in a Certificate of Deposit the best you can do is 1.75 % which most likely won't cover food and fuel price increases over the next five years. A one-year CD gets you a whopping 0.94% annual rate. ---
http://cdrates.bankaholic.com/ ---
Thanks ever so much Ben Bernanke.

The CREF bond yield to date in 2013 is at a (negative)  -0.13%.
The TIAA-CREF Inflation linked bond fund is at a (negative) -0.80% thus far in 2013
The CREF Equity Index at a (positive) +0.73% thus far in 2013 but has much more high-risk volatility for what you've struggled to save and might lose
According to MSNBC, President Obama's approval rating fell 15% since January 2013 and is now less than 50%
Congressional approval ratings barely registers
It's time for term limits

From CFO.com Morning Ledger on March 19, 2013

A retirement crisis is brewing as workers save too little and companies face bigger pension liabilities. A report out today from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (PDF) shows that 57% of U.S. workers have less than $25,000 in total household savings and investments excluding their homes. Only 49% reported having so little money saved in 2008. And 28% of Americans have no confidence they will have enough money to retire comfortably—the highest level in the study’s 23-year history, the WSJ’s Kelly Greene and CFOJ’s Vipal Monga report.

Corporate balance sheets (including TIAA-CREF) are also under pressure. Based on another recent report, the Society of Actuaries said rising life expectancies could add as much as $97 billion to corporate pension liabilities in coming years, an increase of up to 5%. Goodyear said life expectancy growth for its plan’s beneficiaries is one reason its global pension-funding gap widened to $3.5 billion last year from $3.1 billion in 2011.

The effect of longer life spans on pension obligations has been dwarfed by the impact of declining interest rates over recent years. Because of the way pension liabilities are calculated, lower rates mean that future obligations are higher today. But interest rates are likely to rise at some point, which will lessen pension obligations. “Rates can go up,” said Rama Variankaval, an executive director in the corporate finance advisory group of J.P. Morgan’s investment bank. “Mortality is more of a one-way street.


World Life Expectancy Map --- http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/index.php

Life Expectancy Trend for the United States --- http://www.aging.senate.gov/crs/aging1.pdf


As a result of falling age-specific mortality, life expectancy rose dramatically in the United States over the past century . Final data for 2003 (the most recent available) show that life expectancy at birth for the total population has reached an all-time American high level, 77.5 years, up from 49.2 years at the turn of the 20th century. Record-high life expectancies we re found for white females (80.5 years) and black females (76.1 years), as well as for white males (75.3 year s) and black males (69.0 years). Life expectancy gaps between males and females and between whites and blacks persisted.

In combination with decreasing fertility, the life expectancy gains have led to a rapid aging of the American population, as reflected by an increasing proportion of persons aged 65 and older. This report documents the improvements in longevity that have occurred, analyzing both the underlying factors that contributed to mortality reductions and the continuing longevity differentials by sex and race. In addition, it considers whether life expectancy will continue to increase in future years. Detailed statistics on life expectancy are provided. A brief comparison with other countries is also provided.

While this report focuses on a description of the demographic context of life expectancy change in the United States, these trends have implications for a wide range of social and economic programs and issues that are likely to be considered by Congress.

How is the Federal Reserve under Ben Bernanke destroying pension funds, especially defined benefit pensions like those of teachers, firefighters, police, municipal workers, and state workers, and postal workers.?

There's no worry about Social Security Trust Funds since Congress, in it's great wisdom, emptied those trust funds long ago on things other than Social Security pensions.

"Bernanke Unbounded:  The Fed enters a brave new world of unlimited monetary easing," The Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2012 ---
Read that printing trillions of greenbacks without taxing or borrowing to pay Federal government bills. The net effect is to drive interest rates on savings accounts, Certificates of Deposits, and pension funds to virtually zero.

From the CFO.com Morning Ledger on March 20, 2013

Pension math overwhelmed by discount rate.
Longer lifespans are putting some pressure on corporate defined benefit plans, but changes in the interest rates used to calculate liabilities are by far the biggest issue facing pensions, writes Vipal Monga. As we noted yesterday, increased longevity could add as much as 5% to pension liabilities. But, as CFO Journal reported last month, that increase is dwarfed by the impact of falling discount rates. “Mortality is somewhat of a second-order element [in the rise of obligations],” said Rama Variankaval, an executive director in the corporate finance advisory group of J.P. Morgan’s, investment bank. DuPont CFO Nick Fanandakis said in an interview that his company tries to adjust its mortality assumptions every year, and any increase in the lifespan of retirees will be insignificant compared to changes in the discount rate. “[Longevity increases] won’t move the needle,” he said. The company’s U.S. plans had a pension deficit of $6.6 billion at the end of 2012.

Jensen Comment
University employees in TIAA are given a choice to transfer funds into the riskier CREF equity funds, although there are restrictions on how much can be shifted in any give year. TIAA is not doing so well since 2008 thanks to Ben Bernanke.

Every Breath You Take
Here's an
anti-Bernanke musical performance by the Dean of Columbia Business School ---
Ben Bernanke (Chairman of the Federal Reserve and a great friend of big banks) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Bernanke
R. Glenn Hubbard (Dean of the Columbia Business School) ---

Bob Jensen's threads on entitlements ---

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

From the CFO.com Morning Ledger on March 19, 2013

Ex-CEO of Calpers charged. The former head of Calpers was charged with concocting fraudulent documents to help a friend collect millions of dollars in fees from Apollo Global Management. The grand jury indictment of Federico R. Buenrostro Jr., who was chief executive of the Calpers until 2008, and his friend, Alfred J. Villalobos, are the first criminal charges in a “pay-to-play” case involving the $257 billion retirement system, the WSJ reports. The indictment alleges that Messrs. Buenrostro and Villalobos fabricated letters in 2008 that duped Apollo into paying $14 million in fees to Mr. Villalobos’s firm.

"Former California Public Employee System CEO and Former Placement Agent Indicted for Conspiracy and Fraud," FBI, March 18, 2013 --- Click Here

SAN FRANCISCO—A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Alfred J. Villalobos, of Reno, Nevada, and Federico R. Buenrostro, Jr., aka Fred Buenrostro, of Sacramento, California, on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, engaging in a false scheme against the United States, and conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag announced. Mr. Buenrostro was also charged in the same indictment with making a false statement to the United States and obstruction of justice.

According to the indictment, Mr. Villalobos, 69 and Mr. Buenrostro, 64, conspired to create and transmit fraudulent documents in connection with a $3 billion investment by the California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) into funds managed by Apollo Global Management, a private equity firm based in New York City.

ARVCO Capital Research LLC, a financial services firm founded and managed by Mr. Villalobos, allegedly acted as a placement agent in helping Apollo to secure these investments by CalPERS. In each instance, Apollo required ARVCO to obtain an investor disclosure letter from CalPERS prior to paying ARVCO any fees for its efforts in securing CalPERS’ investments into Apollo-managed funds, citing, among other reasons, Apollo’s obligations under the securities laws.

After CalPERS’ legal and investment offices declined to sign a certain investor disclosure letter documenting ARVCO’s legal relationship with Apollo, Mr. Villalobos and Mr. Buenrostro allegedly conspired to create a series of fraudulent investor disclosure letters that were transmitted to Apollo. Apollo paid ARVCO a total of approximately $14 million dollars in fees after receiving the fraudulent letters.

ARVCO transmitted the last fraudulent investor disclosure letter in June 2008, a few weeks before Mr. Buenrostro retired from CalPERS. On July 1, 2008, Mr. Villalobos hired Mr. Buenrostro to work for ARVCO. When civil and later criminal investigations were opened into the operations of ARVCO and its role as a placement agent in connection with CalPERS’ investments in Apollo-managed funds, both defendants made false statements to and concealed information from the SEC, the USPIS, and the FBI about the authenticity of the investor disclosure letters in order to defeat and obstruct the lawful functions of those agencies.

Mr. Villalobos and Mr. Buenrostro made their initial appearance in federal court in San Francisco on March 18, 2013, and are currently out on bond. Mr. Buenrostro’s next scheduled appearance is Monday, March 25, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. for identification of counsel and review of the terms of his bond. Mr. Villalobos’ next scheduled appearance is April 9, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. for review of the terms of his bond. Both defendants are scheduled to appear before in district court on May 8, 2013, at 2:00 p.m. before Judge Breyer.

The maximum statutory penalty for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud is 20 years in prison; $250,000 fine or twice the amount of gain or loss, whichever is greater; three years of supervised release; and a $100 special assessment. The maximum penalty for each count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, false scheme against the United States, false statement to the United States, and obstruction of justice is five years in prison; $250,000 fine or twice the amount of gain or loss, whichever is greater; three years of supervised release; and a $100 special assessment. Restitution may also be ordered as to each of the five counts. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines a the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence.

Timothy J. Lucey is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Laurie Worthen and Maryam Beros. The prosecution is the result of a two-and-a half-year investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and FBI, with substantial assistance from the Los Angeles Regional Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as the U.S. Secret Service.


"Registered Nurse Pleads Guilty in Connection with Detroit ($24 Million) Medicare Fraud Scheme," FBI, March 22, 2013 ---

A registered nurse who fabricated nursing visit forms in connection with a $24 million home health care fraud conspiracy in Detroit pleaded guilty today for her role in the scheme, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara L. McQuade; Special Agent in Charge Robert D. Foley, III of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh, III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Chicago Regional Office.

Beverly Cooper, 59, of Detroit, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Victoria A. Roberts in the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

Cooper admitted that she and others conspired to defraud Medicare through home health care companies operating in the Detroit area, including Reliance Home Care LLC, First Choice Home Health Care Services Inc., and Accessible Home Care Inc. According to court documents, Cooper fabricated nursing visit notes and other documents to give Medicare the impression that she had provided home health care services, when, in fact, home health care was not needed and/or was not being provided. Cooper also admitted that while at these companies, she signed nursing visit notes for home visits made by other unlicensed individuals to give Medicare the false impression that she had provided home health care. Court documents reveal that Cooper understood that the documents she created would be used by these companies to submit claims to Medicare for home health services that were not medically necessary and/or not provided.

Court documents show that when home health companies were inspected by state regulatory agencies, Cooper and her co-conspirators participated in staged home health visits, posing as employees of these companies and treating fake patients, all to give inspectors the false impression that these companies’ operations were legitimate and that home health services were in fact being provided.

Court documents allege that between 2006 and May 2012, Cooper’s conduct caused Reliance, First Choice, and Accessible to submit claims to Medicare for services that were not medically necessary and/or not provided, causing Medicare to pay these companies approximately $5,403,703.

At sentencing, scheduled for July 23, 2013, Cooper faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney William G. Kanellis and Assistant Chief Gejaa Gobena of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. It was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG, and it was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,480 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $4.8 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.

"How Monsanto outfoxed the Obama administration The inside story of how the government let one company squash biotech innovation, and dominate an entire industry," by Lina Khan, Salon, March 15, 2013 ---

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

What is "force-placed" insurance?

"GSE Investigation Into Force-Placed Insurance (finally)," by Barry Ritholtz, March 26, 2013 ---

Fannie & Freddie have finally begun to investigate the self-dealing and often fraudulent practice of Force-Placed Insurance. Both the New York State Insurance Regulator and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have been way ahead of the GSEs on this.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Force-Placed Insurance, it is an optional bank insurance product that sometimes gets forcibly jammed down the throats of home owners and mortgage investors at grossly inflated prices. As Jeff Horowitz detailed in 2010 (Losses from Force-Placed Insurance Are Beginning to Rankle Investors), most of the fees, commissions and revenues from this “product” went straight back to the banks holding the related mortgage, typically to wholly owned subsidiaries.

It was an abusive practice, and in quite a few instances, the additional costs actually tipped homeowners into foreclosure.

Here’s the WSJ:

“The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates mortgage giants Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC) plans to file a notice Tuesday to ban lucrative fees and commissions paid by insurers to banks on so-called force-placed insurance . . .

Forced policies have boomed in the wake of the housing bust, as many homeowners struggled to keep up with mortgage payments. Some borrowers may try to save money by dropping the original standard coverage, only to be hit by policies with premiums that are typically at least twice as expensive as voluntary insurance, and sometimes cost as much as 10 times more. Nearly six million such policies have been written since 2009, insurance industry data indicate. Consumers are free at any point to replace a force-placed policy with one of their own choosing.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued new rules on this, but the real action seems to be the variety of civil suits from investors; additionally, New York State just reached a settlement with forced-placed insurer Assurant, including a $14 million penalty, and a long list of practice changes (after the jump). If it were up to me, I would have insisted on profit disgorgement and jail time for the CEO (But I am “unreasonable”).

Hopefully, this is the first of many . . .


Legal Questions About Recording TV Programs and Showing Them in Class Under Fair Use
(DMCA, Copyright, Multimedia, Fair Use, Fair, Pirating, Pirate)

The U.S Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DMCA

 There is one important exception here: If a recorded TV program is to be aired to a large school group, such as an assembly, that is considered a "public exhibition," and permission must be obtained from the copyright owner.
"Legal Questions About Recording TV Programs," by Lori Spencer, eHow ---

  1. Can I Make Copies of Recorded TV Shows?

    • While you can make copies for yourself (such as backing up favorite shows to other media formats) and legally give them to family and friends, you may not charge them or anyone else for the copies. This would be considered unauthorized distribution and/or sale of copyrighted material, which is illegal. The same standard applies to public exhibitions, broadcast and file sharing on peer-to-peer networks. The penalties for copyright infringement are very tough indeed, so familiarize yourself with the law before making copies for any purpose other than personal home use.

    Can I Upload Recorded TV Shows to YouTube?

    • Not unless you have written permission from the copyright owner. Even posting a short clip from your favorite movie or TV program can result in the termination of your YouTube account. Should the copyright owner take legal action, you could also be held liable for monetary damages. There are some fair-use exceptions, however, such as using a small excerpt from copyrighted material in a news segment or original parody.

    Can I Show Recorded TV Programs in My Class?

    • A classroom teacher may legally record TV programs that are aired to the general public and show them, but only in a classroom or similar place devoted exclusively to education. The recording must be shown within 10 consecutive school days after it is made, and then destroyed within 45 calendar days, unless the school intends to license it for permanent inclusion in the curriculum.

      There is one important exception here: If a recorded TV program is to be aired to a large school group, such as an assembly, that is considered a "public exhibition," and permission must be obtained from the copyright owner.

Fair Use --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use
Note that Fair Use safe harbors that apply to the U.S. generally do not apply to other countries. However, other countries may also be more lax in enforcement of copyright laws.

"Let's Spread the Word About Fair Use," by Zick Rubin, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 23, 2012 ---

Last month, as college students across the country prepared to head back to campuses, my fax machine coughed out my annual "Request for Permission" from the Copyright Clearance Center, the corporation that is one of the world's largest brokers of licenses to copy other people's work.

As in past years, the center asked me how much I wanted to charge to permit Middle Earth College to include a copy of Chapter 5 of my book, Liking and Loving: An Invitation to Social Psychology, in a course pack for the 18 students enrolled in Professor McClain's Management 710 this fall. (I've changed the names of the college, the professor, and the course.)

If past experience were a guide, I could name my price, out of which the Copyright Clearance Center would take its 15-percent commission. Given how oppressively high college tuitions have become these days, I doubted that the students would notice the extra three or four dollars that I could ask each of them to pony up for the right to have his or her own copy of Chapter 5. The form had blanks to check for "fee for page," "fee per copy," and "flat fee," but not for "no fee."

I was delighted that Professor McClain wanted to use my chapter again, especially given the hefty permission fees I have charged in past years. It's true that Liking and Loving was published 39 years ago and has long been out of print. Some of the timely examples in Chapter 5­—such as the public events of Vida Blue's rookie season for the Oakland Athletics, in 1971—are not quite so timely anymore. But I think it still holds up pretty well.

Yes, I knew that licensing fees had driven up the price of some course packs to $100 or more, to the dismay of colleges and students. Once a great innovation, allowing professors to create their own reasonably priced books of readings for their courses, the course pack was in danger of foundering. High licensing costs were also stretching college-­library budgets for the course pack's digital offspring, the electronic version placed on reserve for students enrolled in a course.

On the other hand, we want American students to have the best possible educational resources, don't we? And since Liking and Loving was going to enter the public domain awfully soon­­—in 2068—I figured I had better make the most of my copyright while I still could. There was just one problem, and, as a copyright lawyer, I couldn't ignore it. Under current copyright law, Middle Earth College probably doesn't need my permission—or anyone else's—to include my chapter in the course pack. The university and its bookstore have a right to make copies of the chapter for enrolled students without even asking, under the copyright doctrine of fair use.

If this was fuzzy before, it's clearer now, from the careful opinion issued in May by the federal judge Orinda Evans in the test case brought by publishers—and paid for in part by the Copyright Clearance Center itself—against Georgia State University. After a two-week trial in Atlanta, Judge Evans ruled that Georgia State had the right to make available to enrolled students up to one chapter of a 10-chapter book without permission or payment, as a matter of fair use. That's because the constitutionally prescribed purpose of copyright is not to enrich authors or publishers but rather to encourage the progress of knowledge.

Under Judge Evans's opinion, in an instance like the Middle Earth request, three of the four determining factors for fair use come out in the "fair" direction: First, Professor McClain is assigning my chapter for nonprofit educational purposes, not for commercial gain; second, although some have said that Liking and Loving reads like a novel, it is a factual and—ahem!—scientific work; third, the portion that is being copied is only one chapter out of 10 and makes up only a small proportion of the book's pages.

The only factor that tilts in the "unfair" direction is the fact that, thanks mainly to the work of the copyright center, there is a readily available licensing market for photocopying excerpts of my book. In 3-to-1 cases like this one, Judge Evans determined that Georgia State's copying was fair use and required no permission at all. Out of some 75 instances that the court considered, the judge found only five to be infringements—and each of them involved the use of two or more chapters of a book. Although the Georgia State case involved electronic course reserves, not photocopies, the same fair-use calculus applies.

Copyright law is admittedly amorphous—in the first fair-use case, back in 1841, Justice Joseph Story called it "the metaphysics of the law"—and the publishers have filed an appeal. So it's possible that the law will change.

But, in the meantime, Judge Evans's decision is the leading case on this issue, and the Copyright Clearance Center, having supported the test case against Georgia State, should respect the court's decision. At the least, it should inform copyright owners of the decision and give them another choice: a blank for "this looks like fair use to me." That's what I faxed back to the center this year, even though I had to write it in.

Continued in article

In landmark ruling, federal judge rejects most arguments made by publishers in suit against Georgia State over e-reserves. But she also imposes some rules that could complicate life for librarians and professors.
"Some Leeway, Some Limits," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, May 14, 2012


Bob Jensen's threads on the dreaded DMCA Copyright Law ---

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

"TiVo Explains Extra Charge for the Mini," by David A. Pogue, The New York Times, March 15, 2013 ---

. . .

“Yes,” I said, “but what are you actually buying? I mean, you’re already paying a fee for your main TiVo box. The Mini just shows what’s on your main TiVo — it doesn’t supply any new features of its own. TiVo isn’t providing any services that would justify a separate fee. All the action is within my own network.”

He explained to me that that’s not quite accurate. The Mini does connect to TiVo’s service — bypassing your main TiVo — for many of its functions. For example, when you access Hulu Plus, YouTube, the search and browse functions, and the music and photo functions, the Mini goes directly to the TiVo mothership online.

He also pointed out that the Mini will gain more features and polish as time goes by, and that’s worth paying something for, too.

I’m still skeptical. I don’t even see why standalone DVR’s need a monthly fee. Unfortunately, for better or worse, that’s the business model we’re all stuck with, no matter who’s providing the boxes: you pay a monthly fee for your DVR, and another one for each secondary-TV box.

At least TiVo offers you the chance to pay a one-time lump-sum fee for each device — and if you opt for the monthly fee, at least it’s lower than most of its rivals.

The top 51 undergraduate business schools according to Bloomberg Business Week (Slide Show) ---
Notre Dame may be Number 2 in football, but it is Number 1 in undergraduate business studies according to Business Week.

Note the links on the left side for such things as explanations of how the schools were ranked and the history of such rankings.

Business Schools With the Best Teachers Are Not Necessarily the Highest Ranked Domestic or International Business Schools (Bloomberg Busienss Week, Business Week, MBA, Rankings, Rank, Teaching, Teachers, US News, Financial Times, The Economist, Economist, WSJ)
"B-Schools With Five-Star Teachers," by Louis Lavelle, Bloomberg Business Week, November 12, 2012 ---


Bob Jensen's threads on ranking controversies ---

Until I read this I thought I might visit the University of Tennessee --- strictly to gather some research data

Here's how to keep students from going to Mexico or Florida for Spring Break
A group of Tennessee lawmakers is preparing to issue an ultimatum to the University of Tennessee-Knoxville – either defund the first-ever “Sex Week” or they will defund the university.

Jensen Comment
To think that all of this might have been avoided by simply choosing a different name for the week.
Sociology Study Week?
Student Interaction Week?
Dorm Living Week?
Pieceful Studies Week?

John Cleese --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cleese

This is No Monty Python Joke in the Faulty Towers
"Actor John Cleese Flees (to Monaco) Tax-Free Monoco for High-Tax Britain," Daily Mail, March 14, 2013 ---

Are home solar panels good investments?
Note the bottom line of this message regarding possible warranty defaults.

"BrightSource Pushes Ahead on Another Massive Solar Thermal Plant," by Jessica Leber, MIT's Technology Review, March 21, 2013 --- Click Here

Jensen Comment
The article mentions molten salt storage. Energy storage is a huge problem with both solar and wind alternatives to power generation.

Investments in Home Solar Panels
One of my very best friends up here has been using solar to heat water for his furnace and hot water tank. He put in a new propane furnace to supply heat when the solar power is insufficient. His detailed studies to date indicate that his investment in solar would not have been cost effective without the tax credits on his Federal income tax return. He has a bunch of rental houses in these mountains and thinks wood pellets are the cheapest way to heat at the moment, but wood pellets are not as convenient as solar, propane, or oil. There are no natural gas lines in these boondocks.

However, his calculations are based on the current pricing and availability of propane. If propane prices shoot up for some reason solar looks better, If propane prices decline (as expected in the USA) solar looks a little less promising, although solar investment costs might decline in the future along with the price of propane. Fuel oil prices might also decline since Saudi Arabia and Venezuela do not want to lose enormous market shares due to higher prices of fuel oil. Fuel oil still delivers more btu heat per gallon than propane, or so I'm told.

I have a fuel oil furnace with a decorative propane stove in each of our four fireplaces with a new 500-gallon propane tank underground. Those fireplace stoves have their own room thermostats which make them exceptionally efficient since we don't turn them on in rooms we're not using at the moment. I have summer air conditioning that would be expensive given our high electric power costs in these mountains. But our summers are so cool that I rarely have to turn on the air conditioning except in the bedroom where I also have a window air conditioner that cools the room before we go to bed.

In a way I have solar heat since our living room has huge curved glass windows on three sides. Even when the temperature is below zero we usually have to open at least one small window until the sun moves to the west.

The Sunset Hill House Hotel put in 12 solar units on the roof of the hotel down the road. This was very expensive and was probably not a good investment until if and when propane prices soar.

I might ask those of you who live in hot climates like Arizona, Texas, or Florida if if home solar panels are good investment choices for home air conditioning?

One thing I don't miss is my summer electric power bills in San Antonio. However, it was probably stupid to have only one huge air conditioning unit for 4,400 square feet.

March 21, 2013 reply from Paul Krause in Chico, California

We put solar panels in our 3000 sq ft house five years ago. They exceeded our expectations. We installed 5.2 kilowatts at a cost, after federal and state rebates, of about $34,000. We financed it with a home equity loan for the entire amount. Our payments are $300/month, with the interest tax deductable as a mortgage, so our out-of-pocket costs are about $180/month. The loan will be paid in 15 years. The panels are guaranteed for 25 years of at least 95% operational performance.

The savings on my electric vary widely from month to month. In the winter I pay as much as $300/month the the electric company. The the late spring (good sun angle, long hours of daylight, and little air conditioner usage) I received for three months as much as $100/month.

Overall, the panels have reduced my electric bill by about $300/month. My after tax cost is $180/month, so I figure I am $1500/year ahead. And when the loan is paid off I will be $3600/year ahead.

The state does not allow increases in assessments for the value of the panels. It has yet to be determined whether it will increase the resale value of my house.

Paul Krause
Chico, CA

March 21, 2013 replies from Clinton (Skip) White in Pennsylvania

Reply 1
In Pennsylvania, we installed a 10 Kw system on our barn roof (faces directly south) and now have 0 electric bills and get a small amount back (about $30/month) from a solar broker that sells our surplus – Out of pocket cost was about $52,000 and we got a 30% federal tax credit and a $7,500 rebate from the state – our payback will be about 5 years – In my humble opinion, it is an incredible investment

Reply 2
With solar panels the common misconception is that you are generating power for your own house – Instead, most people who install solar, simply feed the generated electricity back into the power grid; which is what we do – So, we now have 2 meters – one measuring what we generate and put into the grid and one measuring what we use – We generate enough to completely offset our usage with a little surplus – our electric bills used to average a bit less than $300/month – Our electric company does not pay for surplus generation (it varies per state) but a solar broker monitors by way of the Web our generation and we get what are called Solar Reqs (basically credits that are auctioned on a solar credits market and are bought by utilities and other businesses to account for mandated clean energy generation – in PA, all utilities are required to create 5% of their output from green sources and we are now a green source of energy)

Alternatively, some people install a bank of batteries and use the energy generated by the panels to charge the batteries and use that as their energy source – this is an option but is incredibly expensive in most cases because of battery cost and maintenance


Jensen Comment
I don't think Skip White will mind if I share this really, really helpful example of home solar panel investment. I might add that Skip and his wife are into horses and have a good sized barn. Also I think Skip and his wife are into their "farm" for the long haul. However, I suspect his solar investment investment adds substantially to the exit value of his property.

The bottom line in this message from Skip seems to be that, if you're going to invest in solar panels for your home/barn, invest in a system that that generates more power than what is needed for personal home use. Of course the benefits vary with a number of factors such as your geographic location (Ithaca, NY unofficially has the most cloud cover per year I'm told), the deals you can make with your power company to buy your excess electricity, and how long you plan to live in your house, including your life expectancy if you plan on being carried out of your home feet first.

Consideration must also be given to your particular site. I doubt that solar is a very good deal for your condo in Manhattan that's sandwiched between towering skyscrapers. Nor would it have been a good deal for my former house in San Antonio unless the new owner cuts down several 200+ year-old enormous live oak trees that made it impossible to even have satellite television at our house but gave us tremendous shade from the burning Texas sun.

The bottom line is that a very shrewd accounting and AIS professor in Pennsylvania thinks his investment in home solar power is an "incredible deal" in Pennsylvania.

Our ERP and AIS expert in Chico, California thinks his solar system is also a good deal.

Tom Selling in sunny Arizona is holding off, but that seems to be mostly due to uncertainty over what a solar investment will add to the resale value of his house.

Bob Jensen

When bailing out some companies is a bad idea for an industry
"Why We Need More Solar Companies to Fail: Solar manufacturers like Suntech are struggling. Hundreds need to die for the industry to recover," by Kevin Bullis,   MIT's Technology Review, March 18, 2013 --- Click Here

Jensen Comment
People who have invested tens of thousands of dollars in their home solar panels probably were influenced greatly by full warranties of 25-years or more. If there is a great fall out, via bankruptcy, of hundreds of  manufacturers who made those panels the warranties might be invalidated.

Before you invest in old technology for solar panels track this newer technology
"Nanowires Suck Up Light from Around Them:  The optical properties of nanowires suggest a new way to make more efficient solar panels," by Kevin Bullis, MIT's Technology Review, March 26, 2013 --- Click Here

March 26, 2013 message from Paul Caron

IRS Releases 'Dirty Dozen' Tax Scams

The IRS today released (IR-2013-33) its 2013 “dirty dozen” list of tax scams:

  1. Identity Theft
  2. Phishing
  3. Return Preparer Fraud
  4. Hiding Income Offshore
  5. “Free Money” from the IRS & Tax Scams Involving Social Security
  6. Impersonation of Charitable Organizations
  7. False/Inflated Income and Expenses
  8. False Form 1099 Refund Claims
  9. Frivolous Arguments
  10. Falsely Claiming Zero Wages
  11. Disguised Corporate Ownership
  12. Misuse of Trusts

Bob Jensen's threads on tax frauds ---

"Tax Scams Targeting Poor, Elderly," SmartPros, July 2011 ---

Taxpayers beware: Scammers are out there and they're digging for your personal information and for money.

The IRS is reporting an increase in tax return related scams that typically involve taxpayers who normally do not have to file federal taxes. The scammers con the taxpayers into believing they should file a return with the IRS for tax credits, refunds or rebates for which they are not entitled.

Some unscrupulous tax return preparers have been deceiving people into paying for advice about how to file false claims and some charge unreasonable amounts for preparing legitimate returns that could have been prepared for free by the IRS or by IRS sponsored Volunteer Income Tax Assistance partners.

Many of the scammers are targeting taxpayers in the Midwest and in the South, according to Sue Hales, spokeswoman for the IRS for Illinois. Some are stealing the identities of conned taxpayers and they most often prey on low income individuals and the elderly.

Taxpayers should be wary of any of the following claims:

-- Fictitious claims for refunds or rebates based on excess or withheld Social Security benefits;

-- Claims that Treasury Form 1080 can be used to transfer funds from the Social Security Administration to the IRS, enabling a payout from the IRS;

-- Unfamiliar for-profit tax services teaming up with local churches. Flyers and advertisements for free money from the IRS, suggesting the taxpayer can file with little or no documentation, have been appearing in community churches around the country. Promoters are targeting church congregations and exploiting their good intentions and credibility. These schemes often spread by word of mouth among unsuspecting, well-intentioned people telling friends and relatives;

-- Home-made flyers and brochures implying credits or refunds are available without proof of eligibility;

-- Promises of refunds for "Low income -- No Documents Tax Returns."

-- Claims for the expired Economic Recovery Credit Program or Recovery Rebate Credit;

-- Advice on using the Earned Income Tax Claims based on exaggerated reports of self-employment income;

-- In some cases, non-existent Social Security refunds or rebates have been the bait used by the con artists. In other situations, taxpayers deserve the tax credits they are promised but the preparer uses fictitious or inflated information on the return which results in a fraudulent return.

Continued in article

This type of celebrity bankruptcy that frequently happens to professional athletes should not be happening to the likes of Diane Warwick with assets of $25,500 and debts of more than $10,700,000.

"Singer Dionne Warwick files for bankruptcy," Reuters, March 26, 2013 ---

As Joe Lewis supposedly said:
I been poor
And I been rich
Rich is better

2012 IRS Data Book

Message from Paul Caron on March 26, 2013 ---

2012 IRS Data Book

The IRS yesterday released the 2012 IRS Data Book, which contains a wealth of statistical information for the IRS's Oct. 1, 2011 - Sept. 30, 2012 fiscal year.  Here are the statistical tables:

Returns Filed, Taxes Collected, and Refunds Issued Enforcement: Examinations Enforcement: Information Reporting and Verification Enforcement: Collections, Penalties, and Criminal Investigation Taxpayer Assistance Tax Exempt Activities Chief Counsel IRS Budget & Workforce
First-Time Homebuyer Credit

Press and blogosphere coverage:


Bob Jensen's tax helpers ---

"Rethinking Mentorship," by Michael Ruderman (MBA student at Stanford), March 14, 2013---

Before starting at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, I received corporate training and mentorship that was largely directive. My managers told me what to do and I did it. When it came time for longer-term career advice, my managers encouraged me to follow in their footsteps.

Our dynamic, global economy demands creative leaders who are able to forge new paths. Mentorship must be more about empowering the mentee than about shaping the mentee to be like the mentor. It wasn't until I arrived at business school that my mentors stopped telling me what to do and started asking me questions. My mentors went from "advising" me to "coaching" me. What were my priorities? Where did I want to be in five, ten, twenty years? How did I define a successful, impactful life?

Daniel Goleman's research in the Harvard Business Review points out that the best managers must have several styles to be most effective. He points out that the "coaching" style -- acting more like a counselor than a traditional boss -- is used least often because it is the hardest, not because it is the least effective. Coaching requires managers to focus primarily on the personal development of their employees and not just work-related tasks. It requires managers to tolerate "short-term failure if it furthers long-term learning." Goleman points out that the coaching style ultimately delivers bottom-line results.

I was selected to be an Arbuckle Leadership Fellow at Stanford, a cohort of MBAs employing the coaching style to mentor other MBAs. I started the program from the perspective that my professor Carole Robin repeated over and over: our "coachees" were "creative, resourceful, and whole." I can listen deeply, ask provocative questions, use my intuition, reframe the problem, etc. But I don't need to tell them the answer in order to be an effective leader.

I was randomly assigned nine first-year MBA students to coach, all from different backgrounds. I would meet one-on-one with each of them over coffee for an hour at a time. We would talk about everything from their transition to business school life to their romantic lives to career issues. "What should I do?" they each asked. But I wouldn't tell them the answer. I would ask questions and try to help them find an answer on their own.

"Why don't you just tell me what to do?" was a common refrain from my coachees. Eventually the coachees internalized that I worked to understand their perspective and to help them find the answer on their own. Intellectual independence then bred empowerment. I watched a quiet student transform into a powerful presence in front of an executive audience.

I still had a nagging question: would the coaching style only work at business school? Could I still be a successful coaching manager and resist giving the answers in a real-world situation with deadlines, budget pressures, and valuable relationships on the line? In the run-up to the Out for Undergrad Tech Conference this February, I coached the direct reports on my team. When I fielded a question, my first instinct was to ask, "What do you think?" One of the volunteers on my team, a successful young professional at one of the hottest Silicon Valley companies, was frustrated at first, just as my MBA coachees were. But just like the Stanford MBAs, he too began to internalize that he could come up with the answers on his own. As soon as he would ask a question, he would pause, acknowledge he was thinking through an answer, and offer a solution.

Employees are motivated by more than money, and autonomy and purpose are two large motivating factors. As the global war for talent grows ever more competitive, the need to cultivate and hold onto talent is paramount. Coaching results in more autonomous employees who are able to find meaning in their work and see the purpose of their actions.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Mentoring may be even more of a problem in doctoral programs. One of my better former Trinity graduates was in the latter stages of an accounting doctoral program when his mentor advised him not to try to be too creative when proposing a dissertation and doing research on up to the point of receiving tenure. The mentor's advice was to crank out General Linear Model regression studies that are safe even if they were not very creative or exciting. Supposedly real attempts at creativity might be wasted time until tenure was attained.

When bailing out some companies is a bad idea for an industry
"Why We Need More Solar Companies to Fail: Solar manufacturers like Suntech are struggling. Hundreds need to die for the industry to recover," by Kevin Bullis,   MIT's Technology Review, March 18, 2013 --- Click Here

Jensen Comment
People who have invested tens of thousands of dollars in their home solar panels probably were influenced greatly by full warranties of 25-years or more. If there is a great fall out, via bankruptcy, of the manufacturers who made those panels the warranties might be invalidated.

"Entitlement Ethics," by Accounting Professor Steven Mintz, Ethics Sage, March 25, 2013 ---

The one issue that divides us as a nation more than any other is “entitlement ethics.” Entitlement theory comes from the Theory of Justice. Here, I discuss the theory as espoused by two philosophers – John Rawls and Robert Nozick – and evaluate it against the Moral Theory of Rights put forth by Immanuel Kant. The issue of whom in society is entitled to the resources produced by others and how much of it lies at the foundation of the divide. An important point is there is no one right or wrong point of view. More important, there are practical limitations on those resources that must be considered in making the arguments.

Theory of Justice: Just Distribution of Resources

Rawls argues that the state should have whatever powers are necessary to ensure that those citizens who are least well-off are as well-off as they can be (though these powers must be consistent with a variety of basic rights and freedoms). This viewpoint is derived from Rawls’s theory of justice, one principle of which is that an unequal distribution of wealth and income is acceptable only if those at the bottom are better off than they would be under any other distribution. Hence we have the viewpoint to tax the rich and transfer resources to the least well off amongst us. This view of Justice Theory would justify the reallocation of resources in society.

Entitlement Theory of Justice

Nozick, on the other hand, responds to such arguments by claiming that they rest on a false conception of distributive justice: they wrongly define a just distribution in terms of the pattern it exhibits at a given time (e.g., an equal distribution or a distribution that is unequal to a certain extent) or in terms of the historical circumstances surrounding its development (e.g., those
who worked the hardest have more) rather than in terms of the nature of the transactions through which the distribution came about. For Nozick, any distribution of “holdings,” as he calls them, no matter how unequal, is just if (and only if) it arises from a just distribution through legitimate means.

One legitimate means is the appropriation of something that is unowned in circumstances where the acquisition would not disadvantage others (i.e., taxing the rich at, say, 50% would not disadvantage them – a popular notion espoused by the liberal point of view). A second means is the voluntary transfer of ownership of holdings to someone else (i.e., the Warren Buffett’s of the world
choose voluntarily to share their wealth with others less fortunate). A third means is the rectification of past injustices in the acquisition or transfer of holdings (i.e., those harmed by wrongful acts in the past deserve an increased distribution of resources). According to Nozick, anyone who acquired what he has through these means is morally entitled to it. Thus the “entitlement” theory of justice states that the distribution of holdings in a society is just if (and only if) everyone in that society is entitled to what he has. Ah, but there is the rub: Who is entitled to what?

Theory of Moral Rights

So, the key becomes how to define “entitlement.” In this regard we can turn to the theory of “moral rights.” Rights theory provides that human beings have certain fundamental rights that should be respected in all decisions: the right to free consent, privacy, freedom of conscience, free speech, and due process. A right is a capacity, a possession, or condition of existence that entitles either an individual or a group to enjoy some object or state of being. For example, the right to free speech is a condition of existence that entitles one to express one's thoughts as one chooses.

The moral force of a right depends on its strength in relation to other moral considerations applicable to the context in question. According to rights theory, as long as the distribution of wealth in society is achieved through fair acquisition and exchange, the distribution is a just one
regardless of any degree of inequalities that may ensue. The morally correct action is the one that a person has the moral right to do, that does not infringe on the moral rights of others, and that furthers the moral rights of others.

People who rely on rights theory to reason their actions emphasize the entitlement of individuals. Restrictions on behavior should prevent harm to others, but unless your actions harm others, you should be free to do as you please.

My discussion is, of course, a simplification of the theories made necessary by the limitations of blogging. Bringing it home in today’s terms, an entitlement is a guarantee of access to benefits 
based on established rights or by legislation. A "right" is itself an entitlement associated with a moral or social principle, such that an "entitlement" is a provision made in accordance with legal framework of a society. Typically, entitlements are laws based on concepts of principle 
("rights") which are themselves based in concepts of social equality or enfranchisement.

Individual Entitlements

In a casual sense, the term "entitlement" refers to a notion or belief that one is deserving of some particular reward or benefit—if given without deeper legal or principled cause, the term is often given with pejorative connotation (e.g. a "sense of entitlement").

In the past election Mitt Romney claimed that 47% of Americans "are dependent upon government.” That sounds about right. According to the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, the percentage of the federal budget devoted to aid to others is about 54 percent: 20% social security; 21 percent Medicare/Medicaid/Children’s Health Programs; and 13% for “safety net” programs including programs that provide cash payments to eligible individuals or households, including Supplemental Security Income for the elderly or disabled poor and unemployment insurance; various forms of in-kind assistance for low-income families and individuals, including food stamps, school meals, low-income housing assistance, child-care assistance and various other programs.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
There are really several basic types of being "dependent upon government." Firstly, there are suppliers of services (including employees) and goods. These are quite different things unless the purchases are somehow make work charity, such as efforts to instill some type of pride and dignity to severely disabled workers at costs greatly exceeding other alternatives. For example, my cousin has a severely autistic grandson who takes pride at home in assembly of items and is paid well in excess of what those items would cost in normal supply chains.

Then there's dependent upon government under benefit contracts where recipients paid substantial amounts of labor and/or cash prior to receiving those benefits. This would include social security and retiree Social Security and Medicare benefits. This also includes government worker pensions even if the workers contributed no money toward their pensions while they were working. They most likely took lower salaries while contributing labor toward their eventual pensions.

Then there are people who are on partial or full welfare such as those receiving aid to dependent children, disability Social Security and Medicare benefits, food stamps, etc.

Also there are the recipients of government benefits with fraud whether is bilking Medicare, being falsely declared disabled, and otherwise receiving entitlements to which they are not legally entitled. One problem with big government is that it is a giant piñata that is easily beaten with fraud sticks.

Bob Jensen's threads on entitlements ---

"Seven tips to beautiful PowerPoint," by Eugene Cheng  ---
Thank you Andy's Teaching and Learning Blog for the heads up ---

Bob Jensen's PowerPoint helpers ---

"My Amazon bestseller made me nothing:  My novel shot to the top of the site's bestseller list last summer. You won't believe how little I got paid," by Patrick Wensink, Salon, March 15, 2013 ---

In one more week I was going to be a millionaire.

At least, that was the rumor circulating around my wife’s family. One more week on Amazon’s best-seller list and I would have seven figures in the bank, easily. Her cousin had looked this fact up on the Internet, so it had to be true.

“Please tell them that is nowhere near true,” I said. “But don’t tell them how much money I’m actually going to make.”

“OK,” my wife said. “Can I tell them how many books you sold?”

“Absolutely not.”


I didn’t have a good answer. Secrecy seemed like the practical, professional response in times of success.

It made me wonder where this writerly knee-jerk reaction comes from. It wasn’t that people would think I made too much money. The opposite, actually.

* * *

This past summer, my novel, “Broken Piano for President,” shot to the top of the best-seller lists for a week. After Jack Daniel’s sent me a ridiculously polite cease and desist letter, the story went viral and was featured in places like Forbes, Time magazine and NPR’s Weekend Edition. The New Yorker wrote one whole, entire, punctuated-and-everything sentence about me! My book was the No. 6 bestselling title in America for a while, right behind all the different “50 Shades of Grey” and “Gone Girl.” It was selling more copies than “Hunger Games” and “Bossypants.” So, I can sort of see why people thought I was going to start wearing monogrammed silk pajamas and smoking a pipe.

But the truth is, there’s a reason most well-known writers still teach English. There’s a reason most authors drive dented cars. There’s a reason most writers have bad teeth. It’s not because we’ve chosen a life of poverty. It’s that poverty has chosen our profession.

Even when there’s money in writing, there’s not much money.

* * *

I was reminded of a single page in “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”; specifically, the section where Dave Eggers breaks down his $100,000 advance on sales from his publisher. He then lists all his expenses. In the end the author banked a little less than half. It wasn’t bad money — just not the “I bet Dave Eggers totally owns a Jaguar”-type of income I expected. I mean, his name was on the cover of a book! He must be rich.

That honesty was refreshing and voyeuristic. I always said if I ever had a chance, I’d make a similar gesture. As a person learning about writing and publishing, there was something helpful about Eggers’ transparency. So here is my stab at similar honesty: the sugar bowls full of cocaine, bathtubs full of whiskey, semi-nude bookstore employees scattered throughout my bedroom tale of bestseller riches.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
To add pain to misery, I'm told that authors in general should not expect to roll in dough from sales of book rights to Hollywood.

In fairness, I think authors of best-selling novels are in a better negotiating position to make more money from publishers after their first best selling success. Something similar happens to highly successful NFL players chosen neat the bottom of the draft.

"A Smaller Slice of the Pie: Why Technology Is No Longer Creating Jobs," Knowledge@Wharton, March 13, 2013 ---

Can technology set off a new boom in job creation? The question is a fundamental one for the American economy given that policy makers in Washington often look to the technology sector to pick up the slack in the employment market. Meanwhile, the fortunes of Silicon Valley start-ups continue to be closely followed, in part because of the spectacular wealth they can generate for their founders, but also because of the assumption that these new companies are a significant source of new employment.

So it will likely disappoint many people that four prominent economists assembled for a recent panel discussion to explore the link between technology and job creation were, in large part, bearish in their outlook. Some went so far as to suggest that technology actually increases unemployment and adds to other problems in the U.S. economy, notably the growing wage disparities between an extremely elite group of earners and everyone else.

The discussion, titled "Can Tech Power the Next Jobs Boom?" took place at Wharton's San Francisco campus and was co-sponsored by the Churchill Club, a Silicon Valley business and technology forum.

Several troubling data points emerged during the evening, including one offered by Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management and director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

Working with fellow MIT professor Andrew McAfee, Brynjolfsson compared the market capitalization and payrolls of four of the biggest tech companies. His conclusion: While the companies had astronomical values on Wall Street, their job production was minimal.

The four -- Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google -- at the time had a market cap in the neighborhood of $1 trillion, which is roughly 6.25% of the combined market cap of all U.S. companies. But the four employ about 190,000 people, fewer than the number of jobs the U.S. economy needs to add approximately every six weeks to just keep pace with population growth. The implication, said Brynjolfsson, is that even hugely successful tech companies cannot be counted on to create the kinds of jobs the economy needs.

Brynjolfsson also described what he called a "superstar" effect in technology-related wealth distribution, a trend that has become pronounced in the last decade. In recent years, he said, the majority of GDP growth has benefited a very small part of the population, less than 1%. In many cases, even college-educated workers are not sharing in the growing pie. "It's becoming a winner-take-all situation," he said.

"Technology doesn't automatically lift the fortunes of all people," Brynjolfsson noted. "It's something of a paradox. Profits have never been higher, innovation is roaring along, GDP is high, but job creation is lagging terribly, and the share of profits going to labor is at a 60-year low. This is one of the most important issues facing our society."

Citing the work of economist Joseph Schumpeter, Brynjolfsson noted that technology has historically provided "creative destruction" for an economy, causing some jobs to disappear while bringing others into existence. "But the last 10 years have been different. Technology simply hasn't been creating jobs as it did before."

It's a double-barreled effect, Brynjolfsson added. Not only are today's technology companies creating fewer jobs, but the products they make, notably computerized automation equipment, often lead to further job losses in other parts of the economy. These second-effect job losses are further encouraged by off-shoring and by the declining power of labor unions.

"Improvements in technology can improve productivity," he said. "For most of the 20th century, those productivity increases were associated with job growth and growing wages. But there is no economic law saying that always has to be the case. It's quite possible to make the pie bigger, but with most people having a smaller slice. That is what has been happening recently."

Flint, Michigan, vs. Austin, Texas

Somewhat similar themes were echoed in the remarks of Enrico Moretti, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, whose recent book, The New Geography of Jobs, was widely praised for its insights into the changing nature of the American workforce.

According to Moretti, there was not one single labor market in the United States, but hundreds, corresponding to metropolitan areas. Overall, he said, these markets fell into three different groups: those doing well in the new technology economy, those doing poorly and those hanging in the balance.

The differences between the emerging job market "winners" and "losers" are striking. In 1980, Moretti noted, both high school and college graduates in Austin, Tex., made half as much as their counterparts in Flint, Mich. Now, however, those ratios are reversed, and the gap between wages in Flint's rust belt and the booming tech sector in Austin continues to grow. "So when people ask, 'Can technology create the next job boom?' my answer is, 'It depends,'" said Moretti.

While technology may not be making as many jobs as it once did, the jobs it does create are among the most economically valuable. Moretti noted that the average tech position creates five additional jobs in various support industries, from doctors to hairdressers to dog walkers. However, the "multiplier effect" for manufacturing jobs is much lower: 1.6 instead of 5. Much of that, he added, was simply the result of the higher wages generally paid by tech jobs.

Because of that high multiplier, the majority of people will never be employed directly by technology, even in thriving tech hubs like Silicon Valley. "Technology jobs will be the minority, [about] 30%," Moretti said. "What's important is to build that foundation of 30%...."

Moretti and several other panelists suggested that the jobs being lost in the traditional manufacturing sector are never coming back. Or, if they do, there will be far fewer of them, as is the case with the heavily automated manufacturing facilities that Apple has discussed opening in the United States.

Michael Chui, who studies job creation for the McKinsey Global Institute, said that "employment transparency" has become a crucial issue for college students attempting to pick a field of study. They need to know where the jobs of tomorrow are likely to be, but the data is not available to them during the period of their lives when they are making decisions that will weigh most heavily on their career options.

He also said the United States needs to increase the number of college graduates studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the so-called "STEM" curriculum. More than 40% of China's college population are in a STEM field, and the figure in Germany is 28%. But in the United States, said Chui, it is only 15%.

Even within STEM, he noted, priorities may need to be readjusted. For example, a traditional elite technical education typically includes a healthy dose of calculus. But perhaps statistics should receive more attention, Chui said, because of the need for future managers to be able to more intelligently use the huge mountains of data now being routinely collected by businesses.

Education Is Key

The fourth member of the panel, Hal Varian, chief economist at Google and an emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley, told the audience that the "secret" of guaranteeing oneself employment in an increasingly technology-oriented society is "to make yourself an expensive complement to something that is becoming cheaper and more ubiquitous." As an example, he echoed Chui's reference to the growing demand for "data scientists" who can work with businesses' ever-larger databases.

Varian also urged greater appreciation for the "supporting" jobs created by technology, saying many of them, like doctors and lawyers, require sophisticated educations and usually provide excellent salaries.

Continued in article

Ouch:  Bizarre Fraud of the Day (maybe the decade)
"Couple put razor blades in doughnuts (before swallowing them), police say," by Pat Reavy, Deseret News, March 11, 2013 ---

. . .

Eventually two people were arrested when detectives determined the couple put the razor blades in the doughnuts themselves. The couple actually ingested fingernail- to thumbnail-sized pieces of broken razor blades, according to Carpenter. Investigators don't know if they were injured.

Hospital X-rays revealed "several razor blades" in their stomachs, according to a probable cause statement.

"We interviewed the male today and he did admit ... that this was just a scheme thought up by them," Carpenter said. "They wanted to get a settlement of some sort."

Conder told police he and Leazer-Hardman devised the plan after telling each other about being in debt, the probable cause statement said.

The co-worker who was the lone victim in the scenario felt the razor blade after biting into a doughnut but did not actually swallow it and was not injured, Carpenter said.

What two famous professors were victims of planted narcotics in their luggage?

A Sad Tale of Fraud in Online Relationships and Brilliant Suckers Who Should Know Better
"The Professor, the Bikini Model and the Suitcase Full of Trouble," by Maxine Swann, The New York Times, March 8, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
If I were writing a novel about the above incident my devious mind would probably put in a twist in the end. I would have a surprise ending where the professor and the bikini model conspired this ruse from the beginning in order to have a back up sympathetic defense in the possible event that he got caught --- the naive professor defense.

If all went well he would get the illegal substance out of the country and he, like James Bond, would get the girl and she would get the drugs. In the event he gets caught, it would seem that he was the real victim in one of the most common scams in the world.. But if the authorities don't believe that he could possibly be the victim in this case he's in deep whatever you call it.

The first thing to investigate in this case is the value of the professor's estate and the extent of his financial liquidity. If he could simply be scammed for his own dough then he's probably a victim. It would be much less risky to pull off an Anna Nicole Smith scam (before she too was scammed) ---

If he was not so rich and/or was not so free to manage his own financial affairs (e.g., when the capital of his estate has previously been locked into a living trust), then we might begin to believe that he really was an old sucker with too much lingering testosterone. 

This is Not the First Case of Planted Drugs on a Famous Professor
"'Someone like me - an old prof.'
bu Benoît Peeters,
trans. Andrew Brown, Derrida: A Biography Polity, 700pp, £25.00, ISBN 9780745656151
reviewed by Marc Farrant

One event in particular stands out, constituting perhaps one of the greatest ironic events of the 20th century (less Alanis Morissette and more Franz Kafka - quite literally). Between Christmas and New Year 1982, Derrida set off for Prague to visit and give a talk to a few clandestine students associated with the Jan Hus Foundation, of which he was a member. Since the Prague spring in 1968, the situation in Czechoslovakia had grown increasingly difficult, particularly so given the normalisation process of President Gustáv Husák, aligning the country ever closer with the USSR. Derrida had noticed himself being followed as soon as he arrived; upon getting up the next day and leaving the hotel - ‘I get into the metro compartment, he was still there, he gets in next to me ... and at that point I say to myself: I need to shake him off. So I summoned up my knowledge of novels and psychology, I tried to remember all the techniques of the genre.’ The talk goes ahead, on the subject of Descartes and his relation to language, and then Derrida leaves. While arriving at the airport, however, the pantomime begins. At baggage control Derrida is pushed to one side, a sniffer dog is called for, and tucked in the grey lining of his bag are revealed four suspicious looking packages. Derrida is immediately arrested for drug-trafficking, and spends 24 hours incarcerated preceded by an eight-hour interrogation; ‘the prosecutor, the police chief, the translator, and the lawyer assigned to me knew very well why this trap had been set, they knew that the others knew ... and conducted the whole comedy with an unshakable complicity.’ Indeed, the lawyer's advice was to imagine it all as a 'literary experience' - ‘and no doubt it was when I went to visit Kafka's grave that they took care of my valise in the hotel.’

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates are at

Pro Golfer Sergio Garcia:  Did he hit a birdie or a bogey in match play with the IRS?

"Golfer Sergio Garcia Loses in U.S. Tax Court on Endorsements," San Francisco Chronicle, March 15, 2013 ---

"Sergio Garcia scores birdie in U.S. Tax Court," Reuters, March 15, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
I think it should be scored a bogey for him personally.

Note this week Sergio made history by climbing a tree to hit a shot.

What is the difference between news and sponsored content?

On television we call it an infomercial --- something that causes me to change channels in the blink of an eye.

"Deloitte And Wall Street Journal Exclusive For Sponsored Content," by Francine McKenna, re:TheAuditors, March 14, 2013 ---

Your favorite newspapers, magazines and blogs are so hungry for content to fill their pages that sometimes, rather than paying their own writers to produce text, video, and other journalism those publications take money from strangers to print their content instead.

You may not have noticed. It’s getting harder and harder to discern journalism from newsy advertising.

You may know it as advertising or maybe “advertorial” but publications are slipping it in under new fancy media names like “sponsored content” and “sponsored posts”. There’s an entire publication called paid Content that promotes the approach as a way for media organizations to pay the bills.

The Wall Street Journal has been accepting sponsored content, in an exclusive contract with Deloitte, for its CFO Journal, CIO Journal for a while and now will feature Deloitte’s content in a new publication, Risk & Compliance Journal.

I have not seen that reported elsewhere.

A recent controversy over “sponsored content” by Scientology in the Atlantic magazine raised the temperature of the discussion amongst media watchers to “hot”.

A critic of the practice, Andrew Sullivan, wrote about what he thinks went wrong with the Atlantic’s foray.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I also see a lot of this in Time Magazine in terms of pharmaceutical advertising that now runs centerfold pages on health and medication that looks like medical news but has "Advertisement" printed at the top of each page in fine print. I guess it's a step up from the centerfold section of Playboy, but then again maybe not.

Seeing Through an Ethics Controversy in Social Networking
"Instagram’s Terms of Service and Privacy Issues," by Accounting Professor Steven Mintz, Ethics Sage, March 18, 2013 ---

Social networking websites (such as Facebook, MySpace, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn) have become the established norm for communication and maintaining relationships. While these websites are useful tools for exchanging information, many users are concerned that their personal details are being circulated far more widely than they would like. The growing concerns over privacy breaches have resulted in a number of class action lawsuits. In this blog I address the situation at Instagram.

Instagram is a mobile photo sharing app which allows people to add filters and effects to photos and share them easily on the Internet. Instagram was acquired by Facebook in 2012. Instagram is a free service that allows users to share their photos with friends and family. Of course, one never knows where is the photo goes once it is posted on the Internet.

On December 17, 2012, Instagram announced several changes to its Terms of Service. The new Terms of Service suggested Instagram would be allowed to use pictures in advertisements without notifying or compensating users, and to disclose user data to Facebook and to advertisers. Instagram also proposed that the parents of minors implicitly consent to the use of their childrens' images for advertising purposes. The new Terms of Service also introduced a mandatory arbitration clause which would force users to waive their rights to file a class action lawsuit in most circumstances. The changes were to take effect on January 16, 2013 and would not apply to pictures uploaded before that date.

Many users expressed outrage. As a result, a few days later, Instagram again revised the Terms of Service announcing that it would withdraw some of the proposed changes. Instagram backed off a plan to use the names, images, and photos of users for advertising purposes by deleting language about displaying photos without compensation. However, Instagram kept language that gave it the ability to place ads in conjunction with user content, saying "we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.” It also kept the mandatory arbitration clause.

Instagram's new terms include a clause asserting that users under the age of 18 imply by their agreement that a parent or legal guardian has also read and agreed to the terms. The word “imply” is key. These days if any organization expects users under the age of 18 to follow through a guideline with ethical action…well, that organization has had its head in the sand the past few years.

The new terms require users with a legal complaint to submit to arbitration rather than sue Instagram in court, and it prohibits them from joining a class-action lawsuit under most circumstances. That didn’t go very far.

A class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on December 21, 2012 which accused Instagram of violating the property rights of its users and breaching its existing terms of service. The class action lawsuit seeks to preserve valuable and important property, statutory, and legal rights, through injunctive, declaratory and equitable relief before such claims are forever barred by adoption of Instagram’s New Terms. The lawsuit takes particular issue with Instagram’s ownership of user images, especially in the situation where a user quits the service and, according to Instagram’s Terms of Service, loses ownership of their photos to the company.

On February 13, 2013, Instagram asked the federal court to dismiss the class action lawsuit filed over changes to Instagram’s Terms of Service. Instagram argued that the plaintiff, Lucy Funes, had no right to bring her claim because she could have deleted her Instagram account before the changes in the Terms of Service went into effect on January 19, 2013. According to Instagram's filing, Ms. Funes filed the lawsuit on December 21, nearly a month before the changes in the Terms of Service went into effect and she continued to use her account after that day. Instagram also disputed Funes' claims that the new terms required her to transfer rights in her photos to the company. Furthermore, Instagram took the position that both the old service terms and the new terms "emphasize that the individual owns the content he/she posts through Instagram's service."

Continued in article


Jensen Comment
This would have been a more interesting story if the photos in question were of users wearing see-through Luluemon yoga pants ---

"Lululemon Discovers What Men Have Always Known: Yoga Pants Are See-Through," by isty White Sidell, The Daily Beast, March 19, 2013 ---

"Fundamentals of Gift Tax," by Mark Powell and Andrea Kushner Ross, SSRN, November 1, 2012 ---
A detailed overview of the US gift and generation-skipping transfer taxes.

Bob Jensen's taxation helpers ---

Remember that the LOBOR interest rate manipulation by big U.K. banks was bigger than Enron.
Could the gold and silver price manipulations by big banks be bigger than the LIBOR scandal?

Gold and Silver Prices Are Set In Libor-Like Daily Conference Calls Between a Handful of Big Banks There is increasing evidence that the gold market is manipulated. The amount of physical bullion may be greatly over-stated, and gold may be manipulated in the same way that Libor rates are:
"The “Fix” Is In for Gold and Silver Prices?" Ritholtz Blog, March 18, 2013 ---

Mailbox Cost Dropbox Around $100 Million

"Labor Union Asks Milwaukee Technical College to Stop Training Program," by Sydni Dunn, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 18, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
And if there are too many graduating K-12 teachers, should universities place upper bounds on the number of education school graduates entering the teaching market?

"Bar Examined:  The ever-diminishing advantages of a career in the law versus the undiminished enthusiasm of law schools to mint new attorneys," by Elizabeth Lesly Stevens, The Washington Monthly, March/April 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Why do I find it so hard to shed tears even though some of my best friends are attorneys? In part I think of the conflict of interest when our lawyers are writing the laws?

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

"Gold is the worst investment of 2013," by Matt Phillips, Quartz, March 12, 2013 ---

"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.

Machines Versus Humans Grading Essay and Problem Solutions

"Humans Fight Over Robo-Readers," by Ry Rivard, Inside Higher Ed, March 15, 2013 ---

Recall that the GMAT exam was one of the first admission testing services to grade essay questions with computers
Bob Jensen's threads on computer grading of essay and problem solutions ---

"Is it Ethical to Save Four People at the Expense of One?" by Accounting Professor Steven Mintz, Ethics Sage, March 15, 2013 ---

Is it Ethical to Save Four People at the Expense of One?

Lessons from the Talmud

On Tuesday I posted a blog that presented two ethical dilemmas based on the “Trolley Problem.” The Trolley Problem is a thought experiment in ethics, first introduced by Philippa Foot in 1967. Others have  also extensively analyzed the problem including Judith Jarvis Thomason, Peter Unger, and Frances Kamm  as recently as 1996. I have used these problems in my ethics class to challenge students’ moral intuition. Here are the two dilemmas once again:

Dilemma #1

Imagine that you are standing on a footbridge spanning some trolley tracks. You see that a runaway trolley is threatening to kill five people. Standing next to you, in between the oncoming trolley and the five people, is a railway worker wearing a large backpack. You quickly realize that the only way to save the people is to push the man off the bridge and onto the tracks below. The man will die, but his body will stop the trolley from reaching the others. Legal concerns aside, would it be ethical for you to save the five people by pushing this stranger to his death?

Dilemma #2

Now assume that the runaway trolley is heading for five railway workmen who will be killed if it proceeds on its present course. The only way to save these people is to hit a switch that will turn the trolley onto a side track where it will run over and kill one workman instead of five. Ignoring legal concerns, would it be ethically acceptable for you to turn the trolley by hitting the switch in order to save five people at the expense of one person?

The choice is between saving five lives at the cost of taking one life. Before I get to the “answers,” I want to explain how one researcher is using MRI technology to map brain response while analyzing the dilemma. Joshua Greene at Harvard University was more concerned to understand why we have the intuitions, so he used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or fMRI, to examine what happens in people’s brains when they make these moral judgments.

Greene found that people asked to make a moral judgment about “personal” violations, like pushing the stranger off the footbridge, showed increased activity in areas of the brain associated with the emotions. This was not the case with people asked to make judgments about relatively “impersonal” violations like throwing a switch. Moreover, the minority of subjects who did consider that it would be right to push the stranger off the footbridge took longer to reach this judgment than those who said that doing so would be wrong. Interestingly results to say the least.

I received quite a few responses to my blog and selected the best one with respect to identifying the ethical issues. The response comes from Michael Belk, a frequent reader of my blog. Here it is:

#1: I do not believe it to be ethical to intentionally end someone else's life whether it is to save others or not.  I do not believe it is my moral responsibility to sacrifice one life in order that others may go on. 

You hope and pray that it is not their time and leave the results of their outcome to faith.  I would feel terrible, but if you push someone in the way to save others, you may as well say you killed a man.  I would never be able to forgive myself.

The man has a family and people who love him, so how could you explain your actions to his family.

#2. Again I do not believe you should intentionally take a life, but if your intentions were to save the other five men and you were unaware of the damage it would do to the sole man, then you acted out of goodwill and that is more admirable.

Michael’s insights are right on the money. We have no right to sacrifice the life of one person to save others. There is a saying from the Talmud, an authoritative record of rabbinic discussions on Jewish law, Jewish ethics, customs, legends and stories: “Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.”

We have no right to decide who lives and who dies. Yes, if we can save one person without harming others we have a moral obligation to do so. However, to save one life while sacrificing others is an arbitrary act in many ways. What if the one sacrificed is a humanitarian, well-respected and well-known person who works tirelessly for the poor and others who can’t help themselves? What if those saved are criminals who committed murder and escaped from prison. You see the dilemma? Who are we to judge who is a good person, and be saved, and who is a bad person? We should focus on leading the best possible life we can; to serve others whether through medicine, the clergy, the law, a teacher, nurse, or first-responder.

Jensen Comment
I have a little difficulty with Dilemma 1 in the sense of why kill the workman instead of yourself. But that's not the real issue in question.

In the USA things get confounded by our lawyers. For example sometimes doing something for the good gets you sued to high heaven whereas doing nothing gets you off scott free. "See nothing, do nothing" is a motto caused by the tort lawyers.

March 15, 2013 reply from Elliot Kamlet

Mr. Spock definitively answered these questions in 1982:


This statement was pretty universally accepted by Star Trek fans (many of whom are now called baby boomers). It was stated by a dying character but generalizes to the questions posed below.

Elliot Kamlet
Binghamton University


March 15, 2013 reply from Louis Matherne

I listened to this awhile back on NPR. For me, the more interesting bit had to do with what appeared to become more morally acceptable as we were more dissociated from the event, i.e., flipping a switch rather than pushing the person. Think of this in the context of killing a person with a bayonet versus a drone …


Accounting History Trivia
What accounting professors coined the phrase "functional fixation" in 1966 and in what particular accounting context?

Hint 1
Two of the three authors were my Ph.D. program advisors at Stanford University years ago.

Hint 2
Bob Ashton did some cognitive experimentation of functional fixation that was published in the Journal of Accounting Research a decade later in 1976.

Y. Ijiri, R.K. Jaedicke and K.E. Knight, "The Effects of Accounting Alternatives on Management Decisions," in R.K. Jaedicke, Y. Ijiri and 0. Nelson (Eds.), Research in Accounting Measurement , American Accounting Association, 1966, pp. 18

"Cognitive characteristics and the perceived importance of information," by by JD Dermer, October 1972, Library of MIT ---

Recently, several accounting studies have made use of concepts and relationships from the field of cognitive psychology. For example, Ijiri, Jaedicke and Knight employed the notion of functional fixation to describe an individual's adaptiveness to a change in accounting process. Similarly, Livingstone referred to learning sets in explaining why some 2 utilities were slow in adjusting to accounting changes. In addition, Revsine employed the conceptual abstractness construct to speculate on its possible moderating effects in an experimental situation, and on its significance with respect to information overload. Yet, despite this interest in relationships between cognitive factors and information usage, little empirical study has been done of the role that cognitive factors may play in accounting.

Below is a recent article describing "functional fixedness."
"Rename It, Reuse It," by Amy Mayer, Everyday Einstein, March 14, 2013 ---

To become more inventive, new research suggests, we should start thinking about common items in terms of their component parts, decoupling their names from their uses.

When we think of an object (a candle, say) we tend to think of its name, appearance, and purpose all at once. We have expectations about how the candle works and what we can do with it. Psychologists call this rigid thinking "functional fixedness."

Tony McCaffrey, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, developed a two-step "generic parts technique," which trains people to overcome functional fixedness. First, break down the items at hand into their basic parts, then name each part in a way that does not imply meaning. Using his technique, a candle becomes wax and string. Seeing the wick as a string is key: calling it a "wick" implies that its use is to be lit, but calling it a "string" opens up new possibilities.

Subjects he trained in this technique readily mastered it and solved 67% more problems requiring creative insight than subjects who did not learn the technique, according to his study published in March in Psychological Science.

For instance, when given metal rings and a candle and asked to connect the rings together, those who named the candle's generic parts realized the wick could be used to tie up the rings. Another problem asked subjects to build a simple circuit board with a terminal, wires and a screwdriver, but the wires were too short. Those who renamed the shaft of the screwdriver a "four-inch length of metal" realized it could be used to bridge the gap and conduct electricity.

Continued in article

March 15, 2013 reply from Jagdish Gangolly

Accountants did not invent or coin the concept of functional fixation. It has been in the gestalt psychology literature at least since the 1940s.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functional_fixedness

I did not find anything on counterfactual reasoning in your post. This topic has a very rich history in philosophy.

Here is a short discussion on counterfactuals in a footnote in one of my old papers:
Most physical and natural sciences aim at a causal explanation of phenomena under study. In fact the laws in such sciences are essentially causal in nature and are expressed as counterfactual conditionals. Society, unlike nature, is not in any sense so causally ordered, nor is it determinate in the same sense as nature. The crucial element that differentiates social from natural sciences is human will and freedom. Moonitz (1961) in fact obliquely refers to this. The principle of causality that is paramount in the natural and physical sciences, therefore, is not an adequate anchor for the social sciences . Kelsen (1973) suggests what he calls the principle of accounting, according to which a person is accountable (i . e . can face consequences or sanctions) for his wrong-doing. While this principle of accounting is perhaps an adequate anchor for criminal law, it is not adequate for accounting and in general for civil laws. In accounting, as in civil law, the purpose of norms is not merely to prescribe sanctions, but to facilitate human social interaction. Norms in contract law or even in many accounting standards are not so much concerned with wrongful behavior as with suggestions as to how the objectives of the interacting parties can be accomplished. For details see Hart (1983). Ijiri (1971) considers a version of Kelsenian accounting which he calls sanctions.





"California Shifts the Ground Under Higher Education," by Kevin Carey, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 13, 2013 --- Click Here

California is home to two of the most important things happening in higher education, one good, one bad. The good thing is the rapid advancement of cheap and free online courses offered by companies like Udacity and Coursera. The bad thing is the catastrophic failure of California lawmakers to provide enough money to support basic access to foundational courses at community colleges. Today the state Senate’s president pro tem, Darrell Steinberg, will announce a bill that essentially tries to use the one to fix the other. This groundbreaking initiative has broad implications for the nature, financing, and regulation of higher education.

Nearly half a million students are on waiting lists for basic courses in California’s public colleges, increasing the cost and duration of college and reducing the number of students who go on to earn degrees. This is a human tragedy and a policy failure on an enormous scale.

Under the proposed plan, wait-listed students would be able to take online classes that have been approved by California’s Open Education Resources Council, a faculty-led body that was created by recent Steinberg-sponsored legislation (which also authorized free, open textbooks). Students would have to take proctored, in-person exams to pass the courses. Public colleges and universities in California would be required to accept those courses for credit.

It seems common-sensical, and it is. But the bill represents a big departure from standard policy arrangements in two important ways.

First, the organizations providing the courses would not have to be accredited colleges and universities. They could be MOOCs, or low-cost course providers like StraighterLine, or perhaps a venture led by textbook companies whose offerings increasingly blur the distinction between textbook and course.

This would represent a breach in the regulatory wall that has long kept credit-granting privileges and public subsidies confined to organizations that have been certified as colleges by other colleges, with all of the cultural and financial structures implied by that designation. This change is consistent with the policy ideas put forth by President Obama in his State of the Union address, as well as by Senator Marco Rubio, of Florida, in the Republicans’ response.

Second, it represents state lawmakers’ taking long-overdue responsibility for the crucial issue of credit transfer. It’s in the best interests of taxpayers and students for credits earned at one public higher-education institution in a state to be seamlessly transferable to others in the state—particularly one like California, which forces large numbers of students to begin their path toward a bachelor’s degree in a community college. The best interests of individual colleges, by contrast, may be different. A college’s not accepting a transferred course means the student has to take, and pay for, that course again.

None of this should assume away the question of quality control. Not all online courses are good enough, which is why starting with courses certified by the American Council on EducationStraighterline offers more than 50 of them—plus faculty review is a good idea. Limiting the program to wait-listed students means that nobody is being displaced on the labor side of things in the short term. In the long run, however, this kind of plan represents an undeniable reordering of long-established regulatory, financial, and institutional arrangements. It’s a move closer to a time when traditional colleges are only a subset of the larger world of higher education

Continued in article

"California's Move Toward MOOCs Sends Shock Waves, but Key Questions Remain Unanswered," by By Lee Gardner and Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 14, 2013 ---

Supporters of newly proposed legislation in California hope to reduce the number of students shut out of key courses by forging an unprecedented partnership between traditional public colleges and online-education upstarts. But on Wednesday specific details of how the deal would work were hard to pin down.

Senate Bill 520, sponsored by State Sen. Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat who is president pro tem of the Senate, calls for establishing a statewide platform through which students who have trouble getting into certain low-level, high-demand classes could take approved online courses offered by providers outside the state's higher-education system. If the bill is passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, state colleges and universities could be compelled to accept credits earned in massive open online courses, or MOOCs, bringing the controversial courses into the mainstream faster than even their proponents had predicted.

But right now SB 520 is just a two-page "spot bill," a legislative placeholder to be amended with details later. And for those concerned about the consequences of a sudden embrace of a relatively new enterprise such as MOOCs, the devil may be in those details. Who will approve the courses? What role will faculty members really have? Will student financial aid apply to paid online courses? How will the revenue collected by the companies benefit the colleges? The students?

At a news conference announcing the bill, Mr. Steinberg acknowledged that such a bold move could be expected to cause "some fear, and sometimes some upset." He took pains to emphasize that the legislation "does not represent a shift in funding priority" for higher education in California, and is not intended to introduce "a substitution for campus-based instruction."

"This is about helping students," he said. "We would be making a big mistake if we did not take advantage of the technological advances in our state" to do so.

Students may stand to gain, as does California, if Mr. Steinberg's legislation helps more college graduates join the work force. MOOCs and the companies that offer them stand to gain enormously as well. But right now, no one knows for sure what will happen.

The Class Crunch

Everyone involved in state higher education in California agrees that access to classes is a problem. Declining state support has led to cutbacks in the number of course sections offered, just as student demand has risen. For example, more than 472,000 of the 2.4 million students enrolled in the California Community Colleges last fall were put on a waiting list for a course that was already full.

The community-college system's chancellor, Brice W. Harris, was one of several state higher-education officials who lauded Mr. Steinberg's attempt to deal with the class crunch. "Anything that increases the opportunity to access higher education in California after the last four years that we've had rationing of education is a good thing," he said.

The language of the measure, as currently written, outlines a platform that would apply to all three state systems: the University of California, California State University, and the community colleges. A nine-member faculty council established last year to oversee open-source digital textbooks would come up with a list of the 50 lower-level courses that students most need to fulfill general-education requirements—courses that are, as Mr. Steinberg put it, "identified as the most difficult for a student to get a seat." The council would then review and approve which online courses would be allowed to fulfill the requirement and count for credit as conferred by state institutions.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Beyond what you read in these articles there are enormous ramifications that perhaps legislators have not yet considered. For example, onsite hearing and vision impaired students are now provided human assistants at university expense in many universities. For example, a signing expert may sit in front of the classroom and sign every lecture and video presentations for hearing impaired students in the class. It seems a bit unreasonable to expect the college providing a MOOC course to have to pay for such assistance anywhere in the state or in the world.

Variations in quality might lead to new filters. For example, when applying for the Ph.D. program in physics at Cal. Tech., all applicants in the future might be required to take competency-based admissions tests. Similarly, engineering, IT, finance, and marketing graduates might required to take competency-based tests when applying for jobs. This may be a good thing in many respects, but it might also become yet another barrier for minority candidates who do better performing in class than in formidable written or oral examinations.

In New York State, for example, when the teacher licensing examinations were failing over half the minority education graduates, it became a huge discouragement for minorities to major in education. Similarly, the difficulty of the CPA examination discourages minority students from majoring in accounting.

"SUNY Signals Major Push Toward MOOCs and Other New Educational Models," by Steve Kolowich, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 20, 2013 --- Click Here

The State University of New York’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday endorsed an ambitious vision for how SUNY might use prior-learning assessment, competency-based programs, and massive open online courses to help students finish their degrees in less time, for less money.

The plan calls for “new and expanded online programs” that “include options for time-shortened degree completion.” In particular, the board proposed a huge expansion the prior-learning assessment programs offered by SUNY’s Empire State College.

The system will also push its top faculty members to build MOOCs designed so that certain students who do well in the courses might be eligible for SUNY credit.

Ultimately, the system wants to add 100,000 enrollments within three years, according to a news release.

Even before the SUNY announcement, it had already been a big week for nontraditional models for awarding college credit. The U.S. Education Department on Monday said it had no problem with spending federal student aid on college programs that give credit based on “competency,” not the number of hours students spend in class.

Empire State College’s prior-learning assessment programs operate on a similar principle. Students who can demonstrate that they have acquired certain skills can get college credit, even if they did not acquire those skills in a college classroom.

The new SUNY effort will aim to copy the Empire State model across the system, said Nancy L. Zimpher, the chancellor.

“This resolution opens the door to assurances to our students that this kind of prior-learning assessment will be available eventually on all our campuses,” said Ms. Zimpher in an interview.

SUNY is just the latest state system to use novel teaching and assessment methods to deal with the problem of enrolling, and graduating, more students.

Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington have enlisted Western Governors University, a nonprofit online institution that uses the “competency” method, to help working adults in those states earn degrees. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are building programs aimed at helping their own adult students redeem their on-the-job skills and knowledge for credit toward degrees. And California may soon use MOOCs to deal with overcrowding in some courses at its public colleges and universities.

Continued in article

"College Degree, No Class Time Required University of Wisconsin to Offer a Bachelor's to Students Who Take Online Competency Tests About What They Know," by Caroline Porter, The Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2013 --- "
Thank you Ramesh Fernando for the heads up.

David Lando plans to start working toward a diploma from the University of Wisconsin this fall, but he doesn't intend to set foot on campus or even take a single online course offered by the school's well-regarded faculty.

Instead, he will sit through hours of testing at his home computer in Milwaukee under a new program that promises to award a bachelor's degree based on knowledge—not just class time or credits.

"I have all kinds of credits all over God's green earth, but I'm using this to finish it all off," said the 41-year-old computer consultant, who has an associate degree in information technology but never finished his bachelor's in psychology.

Colleges and universities are rushing to offer free online classes known as "massive open online courses," or MOOCs. But so far, no one has figured out a way to stitch these classes together into a bachelor's degree.

Now, educators in Wisconsin are offering a possible solution by decoupling the learning part of education from student assessment and degree-granting.

Wisconsin officials tout the UW Flexible Option as the first to offer multiple, competency-based bachelor's degrees from a public university system. Officials encourage students to complete their education independently through online courses, which have grown in popularity through efforts by companies such as Coursera, edX and Udacity.

Continued in article


Bob Jensen's threads on MOOCs, MITx, and EdX are at

Bob Jensen's threads on competency-based testing are at

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

"College Degree, No Class Time Required University of Wisconsin to Offer a Bachelor's to Students Who Take Online Competency Tests About What They Know," by Caroline Porter, The Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2013 --- "
Thank you Ramesh Fernando for the heads up.

David Lando plans to start working toward a diploma from the University of Wisconsin this fall, but he doesn't intend to set foot on campus or even take a single online course offered by the school's well-regarded faculty.

Instead, he will sit through hours of testing at his home computer in Milwaukee under a new program that promises to award a bachelor's degree based on knowledge—not just class time or credits.

"I have all kinds of credits all over God's green earth, but I'm using this to finish it all off," said the 41-year-old computer consultant, who has an associate degree in information technology but never finished his bachelor's in psychology.

Colleges and universities are rushing to offer free online classes known as "massive open online courses," or MOOCs. But so far, no one has figured out a way to stitch these classes together into a bachelor's degree.

Now, educators in Wisconsin are offering a possible solution by decoupling the learning part of education from student assessment and degree-granting.

Wisconsin officials tout the UW Flexible Option as the first to offer multiple, competency-based bachelor's degrees from a public university system. Officials encourage students to complete their education independently through online courses, which have grown in popularity through efforts by companies such as Coursera, edX and Udacity.

No classroom time is required under the Wisconsin program except for clinical or practicum work for certain degrees.

Elsewhere, some schools offer competency-based credits or associate degrees in areas such as nursing and business, while Northern Arizona University plans a similar program that would offer bachelor's degrees for a flat fee, said spokesman Eric Dieterle. But no other state system is offering competency-based bachelor's degrees on a systemwide basis.

Wisconsin's Flexible Option program is "quite visionary," said Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education, an education policy and lobbying group that represents some 1,800 accredited colleges and universities.

In Wisconsin, officials say that about 20% of adult residents have some college credits but lack a degree. Given that a growing number of jobs require a degree, the new program appeals to potential students who lack the time or resources to go back to school full time.

"It is a big new idea in a system like ours, and it is part of the way the ground is shifting under us in higher education," said Kevin Reilly, president of the University of Wisconsin System, which runs the state's 26 public-university campuses.

Under the Flexible Option, assessment tests and related online courses are being written by faculty who normally teach the related subject-area classes, Mr. Reilly said.

Officials plan to launch the full program this fall, with bachelor's degrees in subjects including information technology and diagnostic imaging, plus master's and bachelor's degrees for registered nurses. Faculty are working on writing those tests now.

The charges for the tests and related online courses haven't been set. But university officials said the Flexible Option should be "significantly less expensive" than full-time resident tuition, which averages about $6,900 a year at Wisconsin's four-year campuses.

The Wisconsin system isn't focusing on the potential cost savings the program may offer it but instead "the university and the state are doing this to strengthen the state work force," said university spokesman David Giroux.

Siva Vaidhyanathan, a media-studies professor at the University of Virginia who has written about the future of universities, called the program a "worthy experiment" but warned that school officials "need to make sure degree plans are not watered down."

Some faculty at the school echoed the concern, since the degree will be indistinguishable from those issued by the University of Wisconsin the traditional way. "There has got to be very rigorous documentation that it lives up to the quality of that name," said Mark Cook, an animal-sciences professor and chairman of the university committee for the faculty senate at the Madison campus.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has championed the idea, in part because he left college in his senior year for a job opportunity and never finished his degree. He said he hoped to use the Flexible Degree option himself.

"I think it is one more way to get your degree. I don't see it as replacing things," Mr. Walker said

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
If competency based learning is to be offered in this manner, I think the pretense that this is equivalent to a traditional undergraduate degree should be dropped. An undergraduate diploma traditionally maps to a curriculum that includes some courses that just cannot be examined with competency-based testing proposed in this article. This includes speech courses where students must stand in front of audiences to perform and be evaluated. This includes case courses where the student's oral contributions to oral discussions of a case, discussions that take on  serendipitous tracks and student interactions. Science laboratories and many other courses entail use of onsite equipment, chemicals, etc. Some physical education courses entail individual and team performances. Music courses often entail performances on musical instruments or singing before critics. Education courses often entail live teaching and other interactions with K-12 students.

In between we have online universities that still make students take courses and interact with instructors and other students by email, chat rooms, etc. A few like Western Governors University even have course grades based on competency-based testing. But WGU only offers certain majors that do not entail onsite laboratory experiences and other onsite experiences. In the 19th Century the University of Chicago allowed students to take final examinations in some courses without attending any classes.  But this did not apply to all types of courses available on campus.

The day will probably come where there are no undergraduate or graduate degrees. Students will instead have transcript records of their graded performances onsite and online. But that day has not yet arrived. The above University of Wisconsin alternative to obtaining an undergraduate diploma must be severely limited in terms of the total curriculum available onsite at state university campuses in Wisconsin.

The above University of Wisconsin alternative to obtaining an online diploma cuts out important parts of online learning in a course where students frequently interact with instructors and other students enrolled in class.

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side of education technology ---

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at

From the Scout Report on March 15, 2013

Artia  --- http://artia.com/en/

Artia is a software for project management that can be used in a variety of settings. First-time visitors can use the Tour feature to learn about all of the applications of the program, which include document sharing, real-time chatting, and multiple project overlays. Because it is hosted online, this version is compatible with all operating systems and browsers.

Sulia --- http://sulia.com/ 

Sulia is a subject-based social network that connects users to the top social sources on pertinent subjects that are of great interest. The network uses a combination of network managers and algorithms to identify the best sources on everything from anteaters to zoology. Visitors can use the drop-down menus to set up their preferences and Favorites with the simple and effective user interface. This version is compatible with all operating systems.

The peer-to-peer business model continues to attract attention and consumer interest

Peer-to-peer rental: The rise of the sharing economy

Share Everything: Why the Way We Consume Has Changed Forever

Sharing Economy Provides Extra Cash and Creative Expression

SXSW coverage: How can Houston help the sharing economy?

Value from nothing-the sharing economy

Airbnb https://www.airbnb.com/ 

Would you like to rent a surfboard? Perhaps you could go for a luxe parking space in a prime location for a day or two? Traditional ways of purchasing these goods and services have been around for decades, but the world of peer-to-peer rental could be a game-changer in terms of how people and businesses connect with each other for such transactions. One particularly notable business in this arena is the Airbnb website, which allows users to purchase overnight stays in rooms rented out by private individuals. This intriguing business model is made possible by technology and it seems to work well for items that are generally expensive to buy and are owned by a range of people who do not use them on a consistent basis. Speaking about this recent trend, author Rachel Botsman noted that this peer-to-peer rental market is worth around $26 billion. It has also acquired another nickname: "collaborative consumption." It is worth noting that owners of these various goods and services can find value in their underutilized assets, and a recent article in The Economist speculates that companies may be able to use this model to rent out spare offices, copy machines, and other pieces of equipment. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to an article on the rise of the sharing economy, courtesy of The Economist. Moving along, the second link will take curious visitors to a fine piece from the Atlantic Cities' Emily Badger on how this model work for a start-up kitchen in Washington, D.C. Moving on, the third link will whisk users away to a piece from the Forbes website about a talk at SXSW about the sharing economy from Airbnb cofounder Nate Blecharczyk. The fourth link will take visitors to a piece from the Houston Business Journal about how businesses and partners in Houston might become more involved in the sharing economy. The fifth link will take visitors to a thoughtful post from the "Flip the Media" site's Patrick Doherty about the sharing economy. Finally, the last link will take visitors to the Airbnb website. Here interested parties can learn a bit about how the business works and maybe even find a deal of their own.

From the Scout Report on March 22, 2013

Send Anywhere --- http://www.send-web.com/ 

Are you looking for a new, quick utility to send files, photos, and applications? The Send Anywhere application may be your new solution. The user interface is simple and accessible, and the site includes a FAQ area for tweaking the various functions within the application. This version is compatible with mobile devices running Android 4.2 or iOS 5.0 and newer.  

Giada --- http://www.giadamusic.com/ 

The Giada audio tool is designed for live performers and DJs to load or record up to 32 samples, which can be played in single mode or loop mode. Users can tweak their sounds from external sources, and modify existing samples. This version is compatible with all operating systems.

Massive open online courses move ahead amid support and controversy

Colleges Assess Cost of Free Online-Only Courses

The Professors Who Make the MOOCs

Google Will Fund Cornell MOOC

California’s Move Toward MOOCs Sends Shock Waves, but Key Questions
Remain Unanswered

UW-Madison to offer free public online courses starting in fall

Who Owns a MOOC?


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

Education Tutorials

Big History: David Christian Covers 13.7 Billion Years of History in 18 Minutes ---

Google Art Project --- http://www.googleartproject.com/ 

History News Network --- http://hnn.us/

Internet Archive: TV News --- http://archive.org/details/tv

Choices Reading Lists --- http://www.reading.org/resources/booklists.aspx

"A History of Reading," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, October 26, 2012 ---

Donald Barthelme’s Syllabus Highlights 81 Books Essential for a Literary Education ---
Jensen Comment
I guess Barthelme would classify me as illiterate. I am reading Susan Sontag's diary. And I have read most of Flannery O'Connor's writings.
What happened to Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Trevor, Falkner, Conrad, and the magnificent English and Irish poets apart from Shakespeare?
Perhaps the 81 books were constrained to having been written in the 20th Century, but even then the list omits a lot of my favorites.

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

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

The Smart Grid For Institutions of Higher Education And The Students They Serve (career in science inspirations and preparation) ---

I Was Wondering (women in science) --- http://www.iwaswondering.org/

What is Radiation --- http://everydayeinstein.quickanddirtytips.com/radiation.aspx

Wild Mountain Gorillas ---

Johnson Space Center
JSC Digital Image Collection --- http://images.jsc.nasa.gov/

International Space Station Tour --- http://www.wimp.com/orbitaltour/

Anatomy Corner --- http://anatomycorner.com/

MicrobeLibrary --- http://www.microbelibrary.org/

Microbe Library: Visual Media Briefs Collection --- http://www.microbelibrary.org/about/52

Bacterial Identification Virtual Lab --- http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/vlabs/bacterial_id/index.html

Chemical Education Digital Library --- http://www.chemeddl.org/collections/LivTexts/

The University of Florida Book of Insect Records --- http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/walker/ufbir/index.shtml

University of Minnesota's Insect Collection --- http://www.entomology.umn.edu/museum/index.html

Singing Insects of North America --- http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/walker/buzz/

Video:  The billion-insect highway in the sky --- Click Here

NOVA: Journey of the Butterflies --- http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/nature/journey-butterflies.html

PBS: Arts --- http://www.pbs.org/arts/

Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum --- http://www.accessexcellence.org/

Build a DNA Molecule --- http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/begin/dna/builddna/

Understanding Disorders at the Cellular Level --- http://www.g2conline.org/2294

Neuroscience & the Classroom --- http://www.learner.org/resources/series214.html 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Invasive Species --- http://www.fws.gov/invasives/

Materials Research Science and Engineering Center: Video Lab Manual --- http://education.mrsec.wisc.edu/Edetc/nanolab/

Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives --- http://www.ulib.iupui.edu/digitalscholarship/collections/CA

The ABC of Architects: An Animated Flipbook of Famous Architects and Their Best-Known Buildings --- Click Here

The Getty Conservation Institute: PDF publications ---

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

Education: Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City ---  http://www.kansascityfed.org/education/
Note the Financial Fables section --- http://www.kansascityfed.org/education/fables/index.cfm

The Lewis Walpole Library (Yale's library of political caricatures) --- 

The Center for Cartoon Studies --- http://www.cartoonstudies.org/

Chicago Ancestors --- http://chicagoancestors.org/

Brown Baby Reads (African American Literacy) ---  http://www.brownbabyreads.com/

The Civil Rights Movement and the Black Experience in Miami (Florida, African America) ---  http://scholar.library.miami.edu/miamiCivilRights/

The Getty Conservation Institute: PDF publications ---

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

Law and Legal Studies

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

Math Tutorials

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

History Tutorials

Big History: David Christian Covers 13.7 Billion Years of History in 18 Minutes ---

Google Art Project --- http://www.googleartproject.com/ 

History News Network --- http://hnn.us/

The All-Time Master of Picking Locks --- Click Here

Internet Archive: TV News --- http://archive.org/details/tv

Choices Reading Lists --- http://www.reading.org/resources/booklists.aspx

"A History of Reading," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, October 26, 2012 ---

LA County Museum Makes 20,000 Artistic Images Available for Free Download ---

Research at the University of Rochester ---  https://urresearch.rochester.edu/home.action

Google Now Takes Us to Great Art Works and Art Museums Around the World ---
Especially note the "Education" hot word near the bottom of the page.

Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum --- http://www.accessexcellence.org/

Musee des Horreurs (Lithographs) ---  http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/museedeshorreurs/

Oral History in the Digital Age --- http://ohda.matrix.msu.edu/

A Strike Against Starvation and Terror (Labor History in Appalachia) ---  https://appalachiancenter.as.uky.edu/coal-strike/background-coal-strike

Mark Twain Wrote (well dictated really) the First Book Ever Written With a Typewriter ---
I doubt that whiteout, carbon copies, or photocopy machines had been invented, although there were cameras in those days that could conceivably have been used to send "copies" to type setters. I'm not sure this ever happened with Twain or any other author. Soon afterwards Mark Twain went back to his pencil and pad.

Noam Chomsky --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noam_Chomsky
Michel Foucault --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Foucault
Clash of the Titans: Noam Chomsky & Michel Foucault Debate Human Nature & Power on Dutch TV, 1971 ---

What is the difference between education and indoctrination? 
Education --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education
Indoctrination --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indoctrination
Training --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Training
"Noam Chomsky Spells Out the Purpose of Education," by Josh Jones, Open Culture, November 2012 ---

Robert Venn Carr Jr. Collection (University of Maine art collection) --- http://www.library.umaine.edu/Carr/

Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives --- http://www.ulib.iupui.edu/digitalscholarship/collections/CA

The Lewis Walpole Library (Yale's library of political caricatures) --- 

The Center for Cartoon Studies --- http://www.cartoonstudies.org/

Newspaper Pictorials: Word War I Rotogravures --- http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/rotogravures/

Los Angeles Examiner Collection, 1920-1961 --- http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15799coll44

The Civil Rights Movement and the Black Experience in Miami (Florida, African America) ---  http://scholar.library.miami.edu/miamiCivilRights/

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts --- http://www.vmfa.state.va.us/Default.aspx

World War One ( World War I ) Color Photos --- http://www.worldwaronecolorphotos.com/

World War I Photographic History in a French Village
Remember Me: The Lost Diggers of Vignacourt --- http://www.awm.gov.au/exhibitions/remember-me/

Chicago Ancestors --- http://chicagoancestors.org/

Brevier Legislative reports (Indiana General Assembly Reports) ---

Words Like Sapphires: 100 Years of Hebraica at the Library of Congress (Hebrew and Yiddish) ---

Jewish Archives Collection --- http://content.lib.washington.edu/jhpweb/

Kenneth S. Goldstein Audio Recordings (Folklore) --- http://clio.lib.olemiss.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/kg_audio

Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore --- http://louisdl.louislibraries.org/cdm4/browse.php?CISOROOT=/ACC

North Bay Historic Preservation Digital Collection (Sonoma State University region) ---

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

Language Tutorials

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

Music Tutorials

Adrian Belew Presents the Fine Art of Making Guitar Noise — Past, Present, and Future ---


Carnegie Hall MOOC Will Teach You How to Listen to Orchestras (Free) ---

Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

Bob Jensen's threads on music performances ---

Writing Tutorials

"The Adverb Is Not Your Friend: Stephen King on Simplicity of Style," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, March 13, 2013 ---

"Sorted Books Revisited: Artist Nina Katchadourian’s Playfully Arranged Book Spine Sentences,"  by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, March 15, 2013 ---

Writing for Web Crawlers
From a Grammar Girl newsletter on March 19, 2013

Although both "pled" and "pleaded" are in common use, language sticklers prefer "pleaded," and professional writers seem to have received the message: a Google News search returns about twenty times as many hits for "pleaded guilty" than for "pled guilty." To be safe, you should say, "They pleaded guilty."

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
This is something I'd not given thought to previously. If you want your documents to be found by users of Web search engines, it may well make a difference how you write your modules and/or whether you add parenthetical inserts to quotations.

For example, if you paste a quote that uses the phrase "pled earnestly" you may want change the quotation into  "pled (pleaded) earnestly" or  "pled earnestly (pleaded earnestly)" just for the Web crawlers.

March 20, 2013 reply from Bob Jensen

It is precisely in situations like this that a retrieval thesaurus comes in handy. It tells one which is the preferred term for usage. It is a good tool to standardise thelanguage used. Standardised terminology makes communications easier and more efficient.
Isn't it pathetic that in a field that boasts of itself as "THE language of business" the only existing retrieval thesaurus has been languishing unseen and unrevised for OVER FORTY years?
These days, when I ask the students to use a thesaurus in writing the term papers, more often than not they respond, "what is a thesaurus?". It also has been a very long time since I saw a thesaurus on any of my accounting colleagues. I guess they think they are masters of the English language to need such a mundane thing.
Depending on the design of the webcrawler, it picks up either the headers or the whole file. If it picks up the whole file, if the indexing/search engine uses a retrieval thesaurus, it will probably find 
'pled' in the thesaurus and then pick up the preferred term "pleaded" ultimately. The indexes, of course are based on word stems (walk, walked, walking, ... might be stored as 'walk', and as a verb its troponyms such as amble, saunter, trot, canter, escort, foot, hike, shuffle, slog, traverse, tread,  stride, stroll,... and as noun its synonyms such as jaunt, pace, promenade, saunter, ramble, ...) and not the actual words used to make the whole retrieval process efficient.

Jagdish S. Gangolly
Department of Informatics
College of Computing & Information
State University of New York at Albany
Harriman Campus, Building 7A, Suite 220
Albany, NY 12222
: 518-956-8251, Fax: 518-956-8247


The Oxford Comma
"Commas and Feelings," by Anne Curzan, Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, March 14, 2013 ---

A student in my “History of the English Language” course stopped me after class a few weeks ago and asked, “I was just wondering—how do you feel about the Oxford comma?” She could have asked about the rationale behind the Oxford comma (the comma after the penultimate item in a list—e.g., apples, chocolate, and peanut butter) or about the history of the Oxford comma. But instead, she asked how I felt about the Oxford comma, the suggestion being that a punctuation mark could be meaningful enough to arouse personal feelings.

I like the Oxford comma (she was right: I do have feelings about it), and I told her so. I am not an advocate of comma proliferation, but this one can support clarity and even usefully disambiguate some lists—e.g., my two brothers, the doctor, and the nurse (to indicate there are four people, not just my brothers, who happen to be a doctor and a nurse). That said, it should be noted that there occur very few such lists. I tend to use the Oxford comma in my own prose, and I tend to notice when others don’t.

Continued in article

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

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

March 14, 2013

March 15, 2013

March 16, 2013

March 18, 2013

March 19, 2013

March 20, 2013

March 21, 2013

March 22, 2013

March 23, 2013

March 25, 2013

March 26, 2013

March 27, 2013


What is Radiation? --- http://everydayeinstein.quickanddirtytips.com/radiation.aspx

"5 Medical Truths Your Doctor Wants You to Know," by Dr, Leana Wen, House Call Doctor, March 20, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Obviously anything your doctor tells you probably trumps any of the "truths" given above. For example, if your doctor wants a CT scan because of your headache she may be looking for problems like tumors that CT scans sometimes detect. Also your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic for what you think is a cold but is really a sinus infection --- of course your doctor should explain why an antibiotic is being prescribed.

Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum --- http://www.accessexcellence.org/

"Is Caffeine Bad for You?" by Monica Reinagel, Nutrition Diva, March 14, 2013

Jensen Comment
I never drank coffee or smoked cigarettes, preferring to limit my vices to rum, gin, scotch, bourbon, brandy, tequila, wild women, and song. But after reading all the good things about coffee I commenced to drink one caf-coffee and one decaf coffee per day. As I understand it, the best things in coffee are not lost by taking out the caffeine.. I still prefer both hot and ice tea --- having been a Texan for 24 years where iced tea glasses are bottomless in restaurants and the heat outdoors is sweltering.

Consider a 12 oz bottle of beer.
How many calories will you save by choosing a lite/light version of beer?

The answer is 20-100 calories saved depending upon the brand in the USA. The "average" lite beer has 100-130 calories but there's no legal limit. The average regular beer has 150-200 calories. A can of sugared Coke on average is 140-150 calories depending upon added flavorings (like vanilla or cherry).

Calories soar when beer becomes a Boilermaker --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boilermaker_%28beer_cocktail%29

Calories soar when Coke becomes a Cuba Libre (and it's not because of the requisite lime) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubalibre
I've been doing my best to liberate Cuba for years, but I'm down to one try per day in my old age. Did you know that the kick is greater in a Diet Coke Cuba Libre? And there are only 66 calories. But diet sodas increase appetite so Cuba Libre lovers like me probably pack on calories and salt after the cocktail. Have some popcorn or peanuts or pretzels.

A Bit of Humor

John Cleese, Ringo Starr and Peter Sellers Trash Priceless Art (1969) ---

Watch Jeff Gordon Scare The Crap Out Of A Random Used Car Salesman ---


Forwarded by Gene and Joan


It's so good to finally get a health warning that is useful!  


I don't know why I didn't figure this out sooner. I use shampoo in the shower! When I wash my hair, the shampoo runs down my whole body, and printed very clearly on the shampoo label is this warning: "FOR EXTRA BODY AND VOLUME." 

No wonder I have been gaining weight! Well, I have gotten rid of that shampoo, and I am going to start showering with Dawn dish soap instead. Its label reads: "DISSOLVES FAT THAT IS OTHERWISE DIFFICULT TO REMOVE." 

Problem solved!  

If I don't answer the phone, I'll be in the showe

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

What is the truest definition of  Globalization?

Princess Diana's death.

How come?

Answer :

An English princess with an Egyptian boyfriend
in a French tunnel,
riding in a
  German car with a
Dutch engine,
  driven by a Belgian  who was drunk
onScottish whisky,

(check the bottle before you
change the spelling),

followed closely by  Italian Paparazzi, on
Japanese motorcycles,

treatedby an American doctor, using
Brazilian medicines.



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