Married to Murder?

The most famous resident of our Sugar Hill-Franconia community for over two decades was film star (with two Academy Awards) Bette Davis (1908-1989). She bought the Butternut Farm near the Peckett's-On-Sugar Hill Resort. Her mother Ruthie moved into the farm house. Soon afterward Bette bought a dairy barn in Vermont and had it carted in pieces across the mountains to her farm. She then reconstructed the barn into a magnificent home called Butternut Lodge. The second picture above shows Bette Davis as a young woman in 1940 when she lived on Butternut Farm. This is when she married her Sugar Hill neighbor Arthur Farnsworth in 1940. In 1943 she was investigated and suspected but never charged with his mysterious death.

After he died, she purportedly placed a bronze memorial plaque on the rock at the bottom of a mountain brook where Farnsworth rescued her in 1939 before they were married. This plaque still exists and is shown in the top photograph above.

Butternut Lodge looks like an old dairy barn. It's now a private residence and is not visible from a public road or walking trail.

On top of being a famous Oscar-winning actress, Bette Davis was known for heavy drinking and fights with a succession of four husbands. In Sugar Hill and Franconia, however, she was considered to be an active and beloved resident and model participant in community affairs. Last Friday, on July 27, 2007, the Union Leader carried a special feature about our local museum tribute to Bette Davis ---
Click Here 

She was one of the most acclaimed actresses of the time, but in the little mountain town of Sugar Hill, Bette Davis was a friend and neighbor who came here to escape the rigors of Hollywood.

This summer, more than 60 years after the era when Davis came north, the Sugar Hill Historical Museum this summer pays homage to one of the town’s most famous residents with the exhibit, "Bette: Her Romance with Sugar Hill." An afternoon at the museum is a delightful way to spend a rainy afternoon or to get out of the hot summer sun.

"The Keeper of Stray Ladies" ---

Her piano is not the only legacy Davis left to Sugar Hill. There are a wealth of memories still in the recall of older citizens. The historical society has some of her memorabilia and the woods of neighboring Franconia hold a tribute to the man she loved and lost during her Sugar Hill years.

Built in 1903, the piano was reputedly rescued by Davis at a New York auction house and brought to her home, an old barn she turned into Butternut Lodge. When the house was purchased about 40 years ago by Peckett`s on Sugar Hill, the inn where she first stayed, the piano was among the acquisitions and provided the music for many a party and even accompanied the Bretton Woods Boys` Choir. The inn closed in the late 1960s and the piano given to the town in 1970. For several years, it sat in the meetinghouse before its new incarnation with the chamber players.

Arthur Farnsworth was her second of four husbands. He died of mysterious circumstances. She was in fact investigated but not charged for his murder. Before they were married her then neighbor Farnsworth rescued her when she was supposedly alone and lost on Coppermine Trail leading to Bridal Veil Falls.

"A Valentine's Day Story: New Hampshire's Bette Davis Connection," by Janice Brown, Cow Hampshire, February 14, 2007 --- Click Here

Bette Davis arranged for a bronze memorial plaque to be placed on the rock, in Coppermine Brook, where she was originally rescued.  The plaque is hidden from view by the casual passerby beside the brook. It reads: In Memoriam to Arthur Farnsworth "The Keeper of Stray Ladies" Pecketts - 1939 Presented by a devoted one."

"The Keeper of Stray Ladies" ---

According to the lore and legend, Davis was immediately smitten (after having met her neighbor Arthur Farnsworth at the former Peckett's-on-Sugar Hill Resort) and even got herself lost in the woods of Franconia, knowing that Farnsworth would be the one to come searching for her. They married in 1940, but their union brief, ending with his death in 1943.

Two weeks after falling down a flight of stairs and knocking his head at Butternut, Farnsworth collapsed on a Hollywood sidewalk and died a few days later. After that, Davis` visits to Sugar Hill were less frequent.

Butternut was sold about 20 years after she first came to the town and it`s said that after that, a plaque appeared on a large boulder in Coppermine Brook, which can still be seen today.

*Additional Reading*

-2003 Photographs of Coopermine Trail and Bridal Veil Falls-

-Photograph of Plaque, and more Bette Davis/NH History-

-NH Magazine: Romancing the Granite

-Murder in New Hampshire DVD

Peckett's-On-Sugar Hill was one of four "luxury" resorts in Sugar Hill. All have since been torn down. Peckett's is known in history as once having the best-known ski school in the United States ---

In 1929, Katherine Peckett imported German and Austrian ski instructors and opened a ski school on a hillside adjoining her family's country inn in Sugar Hill, near Cannon Mountain. Although not the first ski school in the country, Peckett's-on-Sugar Hill was the best known, which was open to anyone with the means to pay. Through the '30s a host of flamboyant luminaries of the ski world passed through the ski school's doors, either as instructors or students---Sigi Buchmayer, Otto Lang, Lowell Thomas and Minot Dole to name a few. As Peckett's heyday was ending, Harvey Gibson over in North Conway was busy importing the Austrian Alps' most renowned instructor: Hannes Schneider. Schneider, who was held prisoner by the Nazis (for refusing to join the "party") was released in 1939 after Gibson used his banker's muscle to twist the Nazi's arms. Wars require financing, after all.

Bob Jensen's features one of the other luxury resorts known as the Sunset Hill Resort in an earlier edition (with an old photograph) of Tidbits at

He also features Mittersill on Cannon Mountain at


Tidbits on August 1, 2007
Bob Jensen

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If you want to help our badly injured troops, please check out
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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 ---

Google's search engine for video ---

Red Skelton's Pledge of Allegiance ---

The Americans Are Coming ---

One giant YouTube leap, for 2008 White House hopefuls ---

"If My Nose Was Running Money" (country humor) by Aaron Wilburn ---

A Family's Bad Day ---

Jessica the Pet Hippo ---

Strange Cosmos ---

TV Disaster (ABC news entertainment reporter Merry Miller - worst interviewer ever) ---

Free music downloads ---

Mary Lou Williams, 'Perpetually Contemporary (54 minutes of great big band era music) ---

The Rose (Bette Midler) ---

Wind Beneath My Wings (Garry Morris) ---

You've Got A Friend In Me (Randy Newman and Lyle Lovett) ---

You've Got A Friend (Carole King) ---

Where Have All The Flowers Gone (Joan Baez) ---

Walk Through This World With Me (George Jones) ---

The Magic Touch (The Platters) ---

Talk To Me (Mickey Gille) ---

Ten Commandments Of Love (The Moonglows) ---

Heavens Gates – Remembering the 50s---

I dare you to sit still in your chair
Harsh and Sweet, Fiery and Cold: '24 Hours a Day' ---
Elana James bursts into her own particular (lively) blend of bluegrass, western swing and jazz.

Andrew Bird: Songs from the 'Armchair' ---

'Take These Thoughts,' Drenched in Harmony ---

Matt Nathanson in Concert ---

Naxos Classical Music and Music Education Site ---

Classical Music Samples ---

Photographs and Art

Open Architecture Network (contribute your own designs) ---

HiRISE Catches a Dust Devil on Mars ---

Virtual Blue Ridge Parkway Guide ---

Fire Rainbow Over Idaho ---

Paul's Photo Gallery ---

Mystic, Connecticut, the Mystic Seaport is billed as “The Museum of America and the Sea” ---

Toledo Museum of 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 ---

Library of Congress: Poetry ---

Google Book Search ---

From the American Library Association Library Support Staff Resource Center --- Click Here

LibriVox Free Audio Books --- 

Free Classics (audio books) --- 

Emma by Jane Austen --- Click Here

Sylvie and Bruno by Lewis Carroll --- Click Here

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens --- Click Here

Kim by Rudyard Kipling --- Click Here

UNIVERSITIES and big accounting firms (in Australia) are recruiting high school students for free accounting degrees in a desperate attempt to alleviate the skills shortage in the profession. Talented Year 12 students are being offered part-time jobs and free university degrees by firms, even before they have applied for a university place. First-year students are also being poached by companies to work full-time with incentives such as sign-up bonuses, rumoured to be as much as $10,000 for each student. Universities are also setting up post-graduate conversion courses where students who did not study accounting can cram an undergraduate course into just one year. Latest figures show there are four vacancies for every one accountant and the shortage is expected to get worse because not enough school-leavers are choosing to study the field. Universities and accounting professional bodies are running advertising campaigns to make accountancy more appealing to students by changing perceptions that it is just number crunching.
Milanda Rout, The Australian Higher Education, July 25, 2007 --- Click Here

Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.
May West ---

Just don’t get me a book (as a gift). I’ve already got a book.
May West ---

When I'm good, I'm very good, but when I'm bad, I'm better.
May West ---

Unhappiness is best defined as the difference between our talents and our expectations.
Edward De Bono --- Click Here

...but talent is a dreadfully cheap commodity, cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work and study; a constant process of honing. Talent is a dull knife that will cut nothing unless it is wielded with great force...
Stephen King, Danse Macabre --- Click Here

Genius does what it must, and talent does what it can.
Earl of Lytton --- Click Here

The limits to the potential of a talented person with no work ethic exist at the median, but the limits to the potential of an untalented person with a sound work ethic are infinite.
Darrin Hinkel

As far as the university is concerned, the core of the human being, his or her emotional and spiritual life, is dealt with as a necessary evil, on the sidelines, and the less heard about it the better.
Jane Tompkins, A Life in School: What the Teacher Learned, as quoted by Laurence Musgrove --- 

In response, the Ford Foundation, along with the Rockefeller Foundation, now require all grant recipients to pledge that they will not use funds to support terrorist groups or terrorist activities. Anthony Romero, the ACLU's executive director, denounced this entirely reasonable requirement as an infringement on his group's civil liberties, and said that the ACLU would not sign the pledge. As a result, the ACLU was forced to return some $1.1 million in grants from these two foundations.
William E. Simon, "Has the ACLU gone too far?" WorldNetDaily, July 29, 2007 --- 
Jensen Comment
At least the ACLU is being honest. Actually the ACLU is massively funded with an endowment of over $150 million and annual dues of over 400,000 members. Before the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations required a non-support pledge for terrorist activities, these two foundations alone donated tens of millions of dollars to the ACLU Foundation.

Eastern Chad has been plunged into chaos and lawlessness. In border towns, pick-up trucks outfitted with machine guns and loaded with armed, uniformed men careen through the dusty streets. No one knows who they are: the army, Chadian rebels, bandits? It makes little difference to the victims of the escalating violence. For about $5 (U.S.), anyone can get a uniform in the marketplace. As I passed through the town of Abeche, a U.N. refugee agency guard was murdered and two staffers severely wounded. About 100 humanitarian vehicles have been highjacked in the last year; aid workers have been robbed, beaten, abducted and killed.
Mia Farrow, "'No Hopes for Us'," The Wall Street Journal, July 27, 2007, Page A13 --- Click Here

You could do more for the environment by becoming a vegetarian instead of buying an expensive new hybrid automobile.
Advice to Jay Leno from a viewer after Jay declared on NBC that more carbon dioxide emissions come from farm animals than from all the cars in the world.
Dixie Dunham, Readers Digest, August 2007, Page 17.

The oil is in Texas, but all the dipsticks are in DC
Aaron Wilburn ---

Duck (dipstick?) hunting season in DC
President Bush isn't the only lame duck in our nation's capital. All 435 congressmen are up for re-election next year, and so are 34 of our senators. That's a total of 469 lame ducks, the way I see it. For the record, there are 245 Democratic and 224 Republican lame ducks in Washington. And with the rising registration of Independents across the country, next year may be a bad season for lame ducks.

Lou Dobbs, "Lame ducks in a row," CNN, July 11, 2007 ---

Last week, California officials in National City voted unanimously to use eminent domain to take over more than 600 properties—including a nonprofit youth center dedicated to keeping local kids out of gangs and off the street. They plan to give this land to local private developers for a group of condominiums. It’s said that a man’s home is his castle, but across America some property owners are being rooked by local bureaucrats and politicians and having their private property confiscated by local governments for the supposed public good (meaning more tax revenues for city bureaucrats).
Fred Thompson, July 30, 2007 --- Click Here

Texas Needs Fewer Cows in Suburbia
Companies in Texas are taking advantage of an agricultural exemption originally intended for farmers and ranchers. To save on property taxes -- sometimes millions of dollars -- they're sticking cattle on their property.

Jennifer Levitz, "Why Texas Firms Are Keeping Cattle On the Back Forty:  Fidelity's Longhorn Herd Saves Thousands in Taxes; Now, Nokia Is Planting Hay," The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2007; Page A1 --- Click Here

Indiana Needs More Cows in Suburbia
Runaway property taxes are an issue wherever property values have shot up in recent years. But now Indiana may be at the forefront of a homeowner rebellion against a tax system that has come to be seen as arbitrary, unfair and unpredictable. What's driving this angst is the first reassessment of property values in six years. In Marion County (the city of Indianapolis), average property taxes increased by 34%. Across the state, the average increase is 24%. Many homeowners' bills have increased much more.
D. Eric Schansbert, "Indiana Tax Fight," The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2007 --- Click Here

Connecticut Needs a Three Strikes and Your Out Law (or at least the unlucky number of 13 strikes)
Career criminals charged in family murder
(one of the worst in history) had 38 felonies Both parolees also convicted of numerous misdemeanors – in and out of prison
Doreen Guarino, "21 felonies for Komisarjevsky, 17 for Hayes," Manchester Journal Inquirer, July 26, 2007 --- Click Here 
Jensen Comment
By 1997, 24 states and the Federal Government adopted some types of mandatory sentencing for purposes of both deterring habitual felons and controlling liberal judges who repeatedly dole out probation or extremely light sentences to non-violent repeat offenders no matter how long the record of prior convictions. The three strikes law was first conceived in California and was overwhelmingly approved by voters. There is no three strikes law in Connecticut. Komisarjevsky and Hayes with a combined history of 38 prior felonies were considered non-violent until now and were 38 times turned back into society where they took up where they left off. They are examples of felons who con the system without any intention of becoming rehabilitated. Many are drug addicts and/or pushers. Others are con artists continually dreaming up new white collar crime strategies for bilking the public. The mandatory sentencing laws are very popular with voters and are typically unpopular with judges and legal scholars who consider one unfortunate sentencing to outweigh the benefits of any crime prevention benefits of mandatory sentencing. Since there are so many factors affecting crime rates, it is virtually impossible to single out the societal impact of any one factor even though hundreds of legal scholars claim to have scientific evidence for or against (mostly against) mandatory sentencing. Anecdotal evidence keeps mounting that mandatory sentencing is sometimes a deterrent. But anecdotal evidence only sells to the public and not the academy. In my opinion, however, this horrific home invasion would not have been perpetrated by Komisarjevsky and Hayes if Connecticut had a three strikes law. They probably would have been in prison for another 30 years or committing felonies in states not having three strikes laws.

Speaking of Repeat Offenders
AT LEAST 30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees have been killed or recaptured after taking up arms against allied forces following their release. They have been discovered mostly in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but not in Iraq ...
The Age, July 2, 2007 --- Click Here

A general rule: If you are told what someone does for a living and it makes sense to you -- orthodontist, store owner, professor -- that means he's not rich. But if it's a man in a suit who does something that takes him five sentences to explain and still you walk away confused, and castigating yourself as to why you couldn't understand the central facts of the acquisition of wealth in the age you live in -- well, chances are you just talked to a billionaire. . . There are good things and bad in the Gilded Age, pluses and minuses. I write here of a minus. It has to do with our manners, the ones we show each other on the street. I think riches, or the pursuit of riches, has made us ruder. You'd think broad comfort would assuage certain hungers. It has not. It has sharpened them.
Peggy Noonan, "Rich Man, Boor Man," The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2007 --- Click Here

Sad to say, that’s been my story. Not that I’m a cold fish. I’ve learned over time that my feelings about my family, children, students, and colleagues are pretty much an open book; in other words. I’d never make it to the final table at the World Series of Poker. My wife can easily tell the crabby Laurence from the sad Laurence from the confused Laurence. Marcel Marceau I ain’t; still, my face is a pretty accurate map of my emotional life. And it’s a life I’ve tried to ignore or bury, especially on the job.Why? Well, I think I’m beginning to arrive at some answers. Earlier this summer, I was attending a conference at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado sponsored by the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning, an affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English. The organizers of this conference selected the topic “The Emotional Life of Teachers,” and they invited Peter Elbow, author of Writing Without Teachers, to be one of the featured speakers.
Laurence Musgrove, "People Get Ready," Inside Higher Ed, July 23, 2007  --- 

The thing that impresses me the most about America is the way parents obey their children.
King Edward quoted by Mark Shapiro at

But recently something has changed. A student makes an appointment and then walks in, accompanied by his mother. The mother does all the talking. She tells me that Johnny has a problem with his Japanese teacher who is a strict grader, emphasizes writing over speaking, and is too meticulous with deadlines for class work. Johnny sits by silently, listening to his mother making his case. Johnny is 22 years old.
Diether H. Haenicke, "Helicopter Parents - Stop Hovering!," The Irascible Professor, July 25, 2007 ---

Walk into a massage parlor in this Chinese enclave, and you'll likely meet beautiful young women -- some of whom aren't there voluntarily. So it goes in Asia's sin city, where gambling and legalized prostitution go hand in hand. That Macau has a thriving sex industry is not news. But many of these women are victims of modern-day slavery. So says the U.S. State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons report, which puts Macau on the Tier-2 watch list for the second year in a row and earned it a personal visit last month from Mark Lagon, the U.S. ambassador-at-large to monitor and combat trafficking in persons.
Malia Politzer, "Sin City of the East," The Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2007 --- Click Here

The camera cannot lie, but it can be an accessory to untruth.
Harold Evans --- Click Here

The turn in the polls against the Republican Party appears to be stunning in its ferocity.
John Podohertz, "The Liberal Edge," New York Post, July 27, 2007 --- Click Here

Liberal activists are stepping up their campaign against Fox News Channel by pressuring advertisers not to patronize the network., the Campaign for America's Future and liberal blogs like are asking thousands of supporters to monitor who is advertising on the network. Once a database is gathered, an organized phone-calling campaign will begin, said Jim Gilliam, vice president of media strategy for Brave New Films, a company that has made anti-Fox videos. The groups have successfully pressured Democratic presidential candidates not to appear at any debate sponsored by Fox, and are also trying to get Home Depot...
David Bauder, Free Republic, July 28, 2007 ---

Karl Rove, President Bush's political lieutenant, told a closed-door meeting of 2008 Republican House candidates and their aides Tuesday that it was less the war in Iraq than corruption in Congress that caused their party's defeat in the 2006 elections. Rove's clear advice to the candidates is to distance themselves from the culture of Washington.
Robert D. Novak, "Rove's Diagnosis," Townhall, July 28, 2007 ---

Somebody may be pouting at the White House over the collapse of the comprehensive amnesty legislation. For seven years, the Bush administration has been unable or unwilling to enforce the immigration laws, leading to an out-of-control deluge of illegal aliens across the nation's Southern border. Suddenly, the feds are about to do what they said couldn't be done. They've been winking at employers who shrug at the widespread custom of taking prospective employees at their word that the Social Security card they offer is genuine, even when the employers suspect it is not and sometimes even when they know it...
Wesley Pruden, "The curious timing of a crackdown," The Washington Times, July 27, 2007 ---

Partisan, debt-ridden and reckless CALIFORNIANS like to think of their state as a democratic laboratory, busily inventing ideas that are copied elsewhere. When it comes to budgeting, though, the rest of the world should follow almost any other example. As The Economist went to press, the legislature was debating a budget that one senator described as having been written by chimpanzees . . . Partisan, debt-ridden and reckless!
"California's budget: The penny drops," The Economist,  July 26, 2007 ---

A potentially groundbreaking case is underway in the U.S. Tax Court in Boston where a former man is arguing that the medical expenses relating to her sex change operation should be allowed as a medical deduction on Schedule A of her income tax return.
AccountingWeb, July 26, 2007 ---

Squabbles over the remote control or whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher are the bedrock of daily family life. But mothers and fathers who insult each other in front of their children may now find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Australian courts have begun ordering parents to refrain from making offensive remarks, claiming that constant carping between couples can damage young minds. The orders relate not only to expletive-laden abuse, but to any remark that might be...
Barbie Dutter, "Parents may be prosecuted for insults, Sunday Telegraph, July 22, 2007 --- Click Here

Massachusetts hopes to rescue 550,000 people from the ranks of the uninsured. But a shortage of primary-care physicians is making it hard to see a doctor and threatening to undermine the state's universal health-care plan . . . On the day Ms. Lewis signed up, she said she called more than two dozen primary-care doctors approved by her insurer looking for a checkup. All of them turned her away . . . State officials have acknowledged the problem. "Health-care coverage without access is meaningless," Gov. Deval Patrick said in March.
Zachary M. Seward, "Doctor Shortage Hurts A Coverage-for-All Plan," The Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2007; Page B1 --- Click Here 

A woman aged 108 has been told she must wait 18 months (under England's health care plan) before the Health Service will give her the hearing aid she needs. Former piano teacher Olive Beal, one of the oldest people in Britain, has poor eyesight and uses a wheelchair. The delay could mean she will be unable to communicate and listen to the music she loves.
Steve Doughty and Nick McDermont, Daily Mail, July 29, 2007 --- Click Here

If you haven't noticed, the major presidential candidates—Republican and Democratic—are dodging one of the thorniest problems they'd face if elected: the huge budget costs of aging baby boomers. In last week's CNN/YouTube debate, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson cleverly deflected the issue. "The best solution," he said, "is a bipartisan effort to fix it." Brilliant. There's already a bipartisan consensus: do nothing.
Robert J. Samuelson, "When Silence is Golden," Newsweek, August 6, 2007 --- 

Whose Ox Is Gored After Bush's victory, liberals shouted "Voter fraud!" Why have they changed their tune?
John Fund, The Wall Street Journal, July 30, 2007 ---

The diabetes epidemic is taking a large and growing toll on New York City, a new Health Department report shows, as death rates, debilitating complications, and hospitalization costs soar. Some 500,000 New Yorkers – one out of eight adults – have been diagnosed with diabetes. Another 200,000 have diabetes but don’t yet know it. The death rate from diabetes rose by 75% between 1990 and 2003.
PhysOrg, July 24, 2007 ---

Americans' icy attitudes toward nuclear power are beginning to thaw, according to a new survey from MIT. The report also found a U.S. public increasingly unhappy with oil and more willing to develop alternative ...
Stephen Ansolabehere, PhysOrg, July 24, 2007 ---

Plug-in hybrids, which use electricity from the grid to replace gasoline for daily driving, would cut gas consumption and save commuters from high fuel prices. But some experts have been concerned that switching from gas to electricity, much of which is generated from fossil fuels, would actually significantly increase pollution in some parts of the country, as opposed to decreasing it. A study released last week by the environmental group National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the largely utility-funded Electric Power Research Institute shows that plug-ins, once they're on the market, will significantly cut greenhouse gases. Across the country, the vehicles will on average also decrease other pollutants, but the impact in local areas will depend on the source of electricity.
Kevin Bullis, MIT's Technology Review, July 24, 2007

If you see something suspicious, 'Shut up'
Democrats favor lawsuits against anti-terrorist tipsters . . . That appears to be the way Senate Democrats want things. They're now pressuring a conference committee to remove language from the final homeland security bill that would confer civil immunity on citizens who "in good faith" report such suspicious behavior . . . The "John Doe provision" passed the House in March by a bipartisan vote that included every Republican and 105 Democrats. But in the Senate, opponents including Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., argue it "could invite racial and religious profiling." . . . Democrats expect Omar Shahin and his provocative pals to throw considerable new business to their most valued constituency -- our old friends, the trial lawyers.

"If you see something suspicious, 'Shut up'," Las Vegas Review-Journal, July 24, 2007 --- 

Picture in your mind a white supremacist who accuses blacks of operating a "wicked web of control and exploitation"; who explains genocidal treatment of blacks as "divine punishment"; and who foresees the "total extermination" of blacks at the hands of whites. Would such a speaker be a welcome presence on Canada's tightly regulated airwaves? We suspect not. But change "white" to "Muslim," and "black" to "Jewish" in the above hypothetical, and you are word-for-word describing the published statements of Israr Ahmad, an anti-Semitic Pakistani preacher who has appeared on Canadian cable network VisionTV several times -- most recently, on Saturday...
"Hateful Vision," Canada's National Post, July 24, 2007 --- Click Here
Jensen Question
Shouldn't this be considered a hate crime appeal?

Barack Obama's latest pronouncement on Iraq should have shocked the conscience. In an interview with the Associated Press last week, the freshman Illinois senator and Democratic presidential candidate opined that even preventing genocide is not a sufficient reason to keep American troops in Iraq.
James Taranto, "It Didn't Happen," The Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2007, Page A12 --- Click Here

Taliban militants shot and killed one of 23 South Korean hostages because the hostage was sick and immobile, a police official said he was told Wednesday.
NPR, July 25, 2007 ---

Freed doctor describes torture ordeal inside Libyan jail · Medic left with scars after being caged with dogs · Bulgarian nurses raped. The Palestinian doctor who was held in Libyan custody along with five Bulgarian nurses on charges they infected hundreds of children with HIV, has described in detail how they were tortured during their eight-year ordeal. Ashraf Alhajouj, 38, said he was beaten, held in cages with police dogs and given electric shocks, including to his private parts. He said that he and the nurses were sometimes...
Kate Connolly, The Guardian, July 30, 2007 ---,,2137485,00.html
Jensen Comment
This makes Gitmo look like a country club prison.

The Must-Have Iraq Book of 1943 — and 2007? ---

Professor Wichman eMail from Michigan State University ---

Dear Moslem Students Association at Michigan State University:
As a professor of Mechanical Engineering here at MSU I intend to protest your protest. I am offended not by cartoons, but by more mundane things like beheadings of civilians, cowardly attacks on public buildings, suicide murders, murders of Catholic priests (the latest in Turkey ), burnings of Christian churches, the continued persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt , the imposition of Sharia Law on non-Muslims, the rapes of Scandinavian girls and women (called "whores" in your culture), the murder of film directors in Holland , and the rioting and looting in Paris, France . This is what offends me, a soft-spoken person and academic, and many, many of my colleagues. I counsel your dissatisfied, aggressive, brutal, and uncivilized slave-trading Moslems to be very aware of this as you proceed with your infantile "protests." If you do not like the values of the West - see the 1st Amendment - You are free to leave. I hope for God's sake that most of you choose that option. Please return to your ancestral homelands and build them up yourselves instead of troubling Americans.

I. S. Wichman
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Michigan State University

The Terrorist Roundup, July 28, 2007 ---

The surge has just started. But Iraq is in significantly better shape than it was six months ago, and the trajectory of events is positive.
Peter Wehner, "General Petraeus Needs Time," The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2007 --- Click Here

It's difficult to believe this was found in The New York Times
The Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility. Yet now the administration’s critics, in part as a result, seem unaware of the significant changes taking place. Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the...
Michael E. O'Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack, "A War We Just Might Win," The New York Times, July 30, 2007 --- Click Here

It's evident that Murtha and Pelosi do not want to read what the NYT printed
Murtha/Pelosi blueprint for defeat July 30, 2007
With Congress's August recess less than one week away, it should hardly come as a surprise that Rep. John Murtha, the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, is readying more legislative mischief. Mr. Murtha, a close political ally of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has made it clear that plans to use the $459.6 billion defense appropriations bill, which comes to the floor this week, to short-circuit the current military campaign against jihadists in Iraq and shut down the prison at Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo). Mr. Murtha plans to offer three amendments...

"Murtha/Pelosi blueprint for defeat," Washington Times, July 30, 2007 ---

In four short years he met his every goal
He seized the whole southwest from Mexico
Made sure the tariffs fell
And made the English sell the Oregon territory
He built an independent treasury
Having done all this he sought no second term
But precious few have mourned the passing of Mister James K. Polk, our eleventh president
Young Hickory, Napoleon of the Stump

Lyrics to a 1996 Song entitled "James K. Polk" ---

World Clock ---

Random Thoughts (about learning from a retired professor of engineering) ---

Dr. Felder's column in Chemical Engineering Education

Focus is heavily upon active learning and group learning.

Bob Jensen's threads on learning are in the following links:

Elite Researchers No Longer Need Peer Reviewed Elite Journals?

"Peer Review in Peril?" by Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed, July 26, 2007 ---

“What I worry about,” Ellison said, “is you get to a point where you can’t make a reputation for yourself by publishing in the peer-reviewed journals. That locks in today’s elite.”

In “Is Peer Review in Decline?,” Ellison argues that the peer-reviewed journals, traditionally relevant for their quality control and dissemination functions, have become less important for well-known economists in the Internet age. When papers can be posted on personal home pages, conference Web sites and online databases, an article written by a professor who has already established a reputation can immediately “be read by thousands.”

Professors in the top five economics departments, as ranked by the National Research Council — Harvard University, the University of Chicago, MIT, Stanford and Princeton Universities – published 86.4 papers in 13 high-profile journals in economics subfields from 1990-93, compared to 71.2 from 2000-3. That 18 percent drop happened even as many journals were “substantially” increasing the number of papers they published, Ellison writes, with the share of papers contributed by scholars in top departments dropping from 4 percent in the early 1990s to 2.7 percent in 2000-3. Meanwhile, Ellison said, scholars in the top departments seem to be writing as much as they ever were, and citations of Harvard scholars are increasing even as their number of peer-reviewed publications has declined.

“The well-known people are going to cut back on their publishing in top journals because they don’t need the peer review anymore. They can get attention to their work without it,” Ellison said. The “slowdown” in the revisions process for peer-reviewed journals also seems to be a contributing factor to the decline in peer-reviewed publications by top department members with less to gain from the effort: It typically takes about three years for a paper to be published after its submission.

Ellison did not find much evidence to support the alternative theory that the trend could be a result of high-profile scholars being “crowded out of the top journals by other researchers,” though he acknowledges that may be a factor. A 2006 study by scholars from the Universities of Chicago and Michigan, “Are Elite Universities Losing Their Competitive Edge,” found that elite universities have lost their edge when it comes to research productivity — in part because of changes brought about by the advent of the Internet.

“There’s a question of whether it’s a trend on publication or a trend on the professors. I hate to say that, but if they don’t publish and others do, maybe it says something,” said Ehud Kalai, a professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and editor of Games and Economic Behavior, one of the 13 field journals analyzed by Ellison.

“The other thing that’s a bit puzzling in this whole theory, it seems to me, is that with this explosion of information on the Internet, peer review has become even more needed because there are so many more papers,” Kalai said, adding that the number of economics journals has exploded in recent years. “They’re just multiplying like mad. If there is a trend not to publish, why are so many starting them?”

Ellison does find that even as they’ve shifted their energies away from the 13 specialized journals examined, academics in the top departments are still publishing as much as ever in five of the most prestigious general interest economics journals: the American Economic Review, Econometrica, Journal of Political Economy, Quarterly Journal of Economics and the Review of Economic Studies. But, beyond those publications, Ellison said, “it’s fairly high up that we see people pulling out.” He added that there are hundreds of academic economics journals.

Ellison’s working paper is available on his Web site or online through the National Bureau of Economic Research with a subscription or $5 payment. And no, it has not been peer reviewed.

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

Flawed Peer Review Process ---

Peer Review in Which Reviewer Comments are Shared With the World ---

An Analysis of the Contributions of The Accounting Review Across 80 Years: 1926-2005 ---
Co-authored with Jean Heck and forthcoming in the December 2007 edition of the Accounting Historians Journal.

What are 120-20 and 130-30 funds?

These funds are called 120-20 or 130-30 funds, reflecting their proportion of assets held long and sold short, with the proceeds from the short sales used to leverage the long position with borrowed funds, so that the long exposure is more than 100 percent. “The idea seems to have caught on,” said Barry P. Barbash, a Washington lawyer who once headed the investment management division at the Securities and Exchange Commission. “Public funds using this strategy seem to be multiplying almost daily.”
Robert D. Hershey, Jr., "This Fund Concept Blurs Old Lines," The New York Times, July 8, 2007 --- Click Here

"Twenty-Five Ways to Reduce Investment Risk," The Aleph Blog , July 21, 2007 ---

The Aleph Blog (Helping Institutions and Ordinary People Invest Better by Focusing on Risk Control) ---

Book Review
An American Hedge Fund by Timothy Sykes --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's investor helpers are at

Arguments for and against the firing of Ward Churchill

The Churchill Firing — I

The University of Colorado protected both academic freedom and academic integrity, writes Hank Brown. more

The Churchill Firing — II

Research misconduct is in the eye of the beholder, writes Gary Witherspoon. more

Bob Jensen's threads on the Ward Churchill saga are at

"Ward Churchill Fired," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, July 25, 2007 ---

More than two and a half years after Ward Churchill’s writings on 9/11 set off a furor, and more than a year after a faculty panel at the University of Colorado at Boulder found him guilty of repeated, intentional academic misconduct, the University of Colorado Board of Regents voted 8-1 Tuesday evening to fire him.
The vote followed a special, all-day meeting of the board, in which it heard in private from Churchill, a faculty panel and from Hank Brown, president of the University of Colorado System, who in May recommended dismissing Churchill from his tenured post. The regents emerged from their private deliberations at around 5:30 p.m. Colorado time and voted to fire Churchill, but they did not discuss their views and they quickly adjourned. A small group of Churchill supporters in the audience shouted “bullshit” as the board vote was announced.

While the firing is effective immediately, Churchill is entitled under Colorado regulations to receive one year’s salary, which for him is just under $100,000.

Churchill predicted prior to the meeting that he would be fired and vowed to file a suit against the university, as early as today. In a press conference after the vote, Churchill repeated his argument that the board fired him primarily because of his political views, which he said are “inconvenient and uncomfortable” to the powerful. He vowed to keep “fighting the fight” and said that the impact of the case goes “way beyond Ward Churchill” and will hinder freedom of expression generally. Churchill was upbeat during the news conference, which also featured Native American drumming and chanting by supporters.

In an interview Tuesday night after the vote, Brown, the system president, said that the evidence against Churchill for scholarly misconduct was overwhelming. “I think it was the depth of the falsification that ultimately led to the outcome,” Brown said. “It wasn’t just one or two or three or four, but numerous incidents of intentional falsification,” such that Brown believed that in the end board members “felt like they didn’t have a choice.”

Brown, who was present for the board’s discussions with Churchill and the faculty panel that reviewed the case, but not for the deliberations, said that board members seemed focused not on the question of Churchill’s guilt, but of the punishment. Brown said that the lone regent who voted against firing did so based only on the issue of firing him, not out of any disagreement with the finding that he had committed misconduct.

The meaning of the Churchill case has been heatedly debated over the past two-plus years. To Churchill and his defenders, he is a victim of politics and of a right wing attack on freedom of thought. To Brown and others at the university, Churchill’s case is not about politics at all about enforcing academic integrity and punishing those who don’t live up to basic rules of research honesty. To many others in academe, the Churchill case has been less clearcut. Many academics have said that they are troubled by both the findings of research misconduct against Churchill and by the reality that his work received intense scrutiny only after his political views drew attention to him.

Churchill has been working at Boulder since 1978 and has been a tenured professor of ethnic studies since 1991. In the years before 2005, he gained a reputation at Colorado and on the college lecture circuit nationally as an impassioned speaker and writer on behalf of Native Americans. Most of his speeches were attended by supporters of his views, so he did not attract widespread criticism.

All of that changed early in 2005, however, when Churchill was scheduled to speak at Hamilton College. Some professors there, who did not feel Churchill was an ideal speaker, circulated some of his writings, including an essay with the the now notorious remark comparing World Trade Center victims on 9/11 to “little Eichmanns.” Within days, the controversy spread — with Hamilton under pressure to uninvite Churchill and Colorado under pressure to fire him. Hamilton stood by its invitation, on academic freedom grounds, but in the end called off the appearance, based on threats of violence.

As the University of Colorado considered what to do, a series of accusations against Churchill started to come in that involved his scholarly practices. While Churchill repeatedly has portrayed his critics as conservatives, a number of those who brought complaints against him share his fury at the U.S. government’s treatment of Native Americans. The complaints included charges of plagiarism, of false descriptions of other scholars’ work or historical evidence, and of fabrications. The university first determined that it could not fire Churchill based on his statements about 9/11, but that it could investigate the other allegations of misconduct, which it then proceeded to do. Three separate faculty panels then found Churchill guilty of multiple instances of research misconduct. The various panels had splits on whether Churchill deserved to be fired and those splits were complicated.

For example, the Boulder faculty panel that first found Churchill guilty of misconduct had five members. One member suggested that Churchill be fired. Two recommended that he be suspended for five years without pay. And two recommended that he be suspended for two years without pay. But the two panel members who preferred a five-year suspension said that they — like the panel member who favored dismissal — would find revocation of tenure and firing to be “not an improper sanction” for Churchill, given the seriousness of the findings. Thus Churchill’s defenders were able to say that the panel didn’t want him fired and his critics were able to say that the panel’s majority saw firing as appropriate.

Ultimately, the university’s Board of Regents alone had the authority to fire. Board members have widely been expected to dismiss Churchill, but they have been circumspect about the case for months. With Churchill threatening to sue, regents were sensitive to any suggestion that they were doing anything except follow standard procedures for allegations of misconduct serious enough to merit firing a tenured professor.

Continued in article

As he pledged to do, Ward Churchill sued the University of Colorado Thursday — the day after he was fired for research misconduct by the Board of Regents. The Rocky Mountain News reported that his suit was filed in state court, in Denver, even though the litigation alleges a First Amendment violation of Churchill’s rights to political expression. Churchill’s lawyer has said that the process would be speedier in state court and the News noted that federal judges tend to defer to the personnel decisions of colleges and universities.
Inside Higher Ed, July 26, 2007 ---

"Why I Fired Professor Churchill," by Hank Brown, The Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2007; Page A13 ---

University of Colorado Ethnic Studies Professor Ward Churchill was fired this week after the university's Board of Regents approved my recommendation to dismiss him for academic fraud.

The ongoing drama now moves to state court, where Mr. Churchill has filed a lawsuit against the university alleging that it violated his First Amendment rights. Mr. Churchill drew considerable attention to himself in an essay that compared 9/11 victims to notorious Nazi Adolf Eichmann.

While no action was taken by the university with regard to his views on 9/11, many complaints surfaced at the time about his scholarship from faculty around the country. The university had an obligation to investigate. The complaints led to the formation of three separate investigative panels -- which included more than 20 of his faculty peers and which worked for over two years -- to unanimously find a pattern of serious, deliberate and repeated research misconduct that fell below minimum standards of professional integrity.

The panels found that Mr. Churchill rewrote history to fit his own theories. When confronted, he asserted he was not responsible. According to one report, "Professor Churchill has, on more than one occasion, claimed that certain acts that appear to have been his were instead the responsibility of some other actor: his editor or publisher, his assistant, or his former wife and collaborator." The report goes on to note that "we have come to see these claims as emblems of a recurrent refusal to take responsibility for errors . . . and a willingness to blame others for his troubles."

But his case is about far more than academic misconduct. It is about the accountability that public universities must demonstrate. Mr. Churchill's difficulties in facing up to his academic responsibilities are in many ways emblematic of higher education's trouble with accountability. Too often, colleges and universities tend to insulate themselves in ivy-covered buildings and have not been as diligent as necessary to ensure that the academic enterprise is conducted rigorously and honestly. This elitist attitude is simply outdated, and our university has made tenure reforms -- precipitated by the Churchill case -- that will ensure academic integrity.

Universities, particularly public research universities, are accountable to those who have a stake in their success and efficient operation. At the University of Colorado, this includes the people of Colorado who contribute $200 million in taxes annually, the federal agencies that provide some $640 million annually in research funding, the alumni who want to maintain the value of their degrees, the faculty who expect their colleagues to act with integrity and the students who trust that faculty who teach them meet high professional standards.

And just as the public has high expectations for us, we expect our faculty members to be accountable for maintaining high standards of scholarship. A public research university such as ours requires public faith that each faculty member's professional activities and search for truth are conducted according to the academic standards on which an institution's reputation rests.

The University of Colorado's reputation was called into question in the matter of Ward Churchill. His claim that he was singled out for his free speech is a smokescreen.

Controversy -- especially self-sought controversy -- doesn't immunize a faculty member from adhering to professional standards. If you are a responsible faculty member, you don't falsify research, you don't plagiarize the work of others, you don't fabricate historical events and you don't thumb your nose at the standards of the profession. More than 20 of Mr. Churchill's faculty peers from Colorado and other universities found that he committed those acts. That's what got him fired.

Even great universities have problems. Places with thousands of faculty and tens of thousands of mostly young students are not immune to trouble. But a university's reputation will only be strengthened when it works to ensure that it remains accountable to those it serves.

Mr. Brown, a former U.S. senator, is president of the University of Colorado.


Should Academic Left Defend Churchill?
The debate might be summed up in an analogy offered by one of the faculty panels that reviewed Churchill and found that he committed, intentionally, all kinds of research misconduct. Committee members said that they were uncomfortable with the fact that Colorado ignored serious allegations against Churchill for years, and took them seriously only when his politics attracted attention. The panel compared the situation to one in which a motorist is stopped for speeding because a police officer doesn’t like the bumper sticker on her car. If she was speeding, she was speeding — regardless of the officer’s motives, the panel said.
Scott Jaschik, "Should Academic Left Defend Churchill?" Inside Higher Ed, July 25, 2006 ---

Jensen Comment
It seems like an excellent opportunity for Ward Churchill to go back to college and earn a doctorate. This would legitimize his admission to the academy.

Bob Jensen's threads on the Ward Churchill Saga are at

Is accounting an "academic" discipline?
Can somebody provide examples of purely academic accounting research that is both tied to accountancy rather than theoretical economics and is completely “pure” in the sense of having no foreseeable application in mind?”

The (Random House) dictionary defines "academic" as "pertaining to areas of study that are not primarily vocational or applied , as the humanities or pure mathematics." Clearly, the short answer to the question is no, accounting is not an academic discipline.
Joel Demski, "Is Accounting an Academic Discipline?" Accounting Horizons, June 2007, pp. 153-157

Statistically there are a few youngsters who came to academia for the joy of learning, who are yet relatively untainted by the vocational virus. I urge you to nurture your taste for learning, to follow your joy. That is the path of scholarship, and it is the only one with any possibility of turning us back toward the academy.
Joel Demski, "Is Accounting an Academic Discipline? American Accounting Association Plenary Session" August 9, 2006 ---

Jensen Comment
Clearly there are “pure” number theory and other purely abstract research studies in mathematics that have no foreseeable application to anything in the real world. I cannot find any such studies in the academic accounting research literature. Joel's lament is a bit confusing since for the past four decades, virtually all doctoral programs have replaced accounting professional content with mathematics, statistics, econometrics, psychometrics, and sociometrics content to a fault and to a point where very few accountants are interested in applying for accountancy doctoral programs  ---

The decline in doctoral program graduates (to less than 100 per year in the United States) combined with the scientific research (albeit "applied research") requirements for publication in leading academic accounting research journals resulted in the academy serving the accountancy profession less and less over the past few decades:

It would help if Joel would be more explicit about what types of "pure academic" research studies qualify as "accounting research" and why there is virtually none of it being produced according to his paper and his address to the AAA membership in August 2006. In particular, I would like to know what types of academic "accounting" publications set academic accounting apart from mathematical economics and mathematics disciplines such that these basic research contributions can still be called "accounting" research that is not applied (in the sense of his definition of "academic" research as not being applied).

Following Joel's paper is a paper by the same title "Is Accounting an Academic Discipline?" by John C. Fellingham, Accounting Horizons, June 2007, pp. 159-163. John features the following quotation from Henry Rand Hatfield in 1924:

I am sure that all of us who teach accounting in the university suffer from the implied contempt of our colleagues, who look upon accounting as an intruder, a Saul among the prophets, a paria whose very presence detracts somewhat from the sanctity of the academic halls.
Henry Rand Hatfield, "An Historical Defense of Bookkeeping," Journal of Accountancy, 1924.

I consider this quotation to be inappropriate in 2007. Professor Hatfield was referring to the teaching of truly basic bookkeeping which is no longer the mundane vocational subject matter of college accounting in the past fifty or more years. I consider most of what we now teach in college accountancy to be very appropriate in service to the accountancy profession.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is that accountancy is a profession like law is a profession, medicine is a profession, architecture is a profession, engineering is a profession, pharmacy is a profession, etc. Why does the academy need to apologize for teaching to the profession of accountancy when in fact the academy is very proud to serve those other highly esteemed professions? I do not see schools of law and schools of medicine apologizing to the world for nobly serving those professions.

Both Demski and Fellingham made emotional appeals for academic accounting researchers to make noteworthy contributions to the "true academic disciplines" as quoted by Fellingham on Page 163. Not only should this be a goal, but in a sense they are arguing that this should be a primary goal far above the goal of serving the accountancy profession. I fail to note similar appeals being made by professors of law and medicine and engineering. These professions do distinguish between clinical versus research publications and teaching, but in general they do not further glorify their research if it cannot conceivably have some relevance to their professions. Indeed, even the most basic chemical and physiological research in medicine still takes place with an eye toward eventual relevance to human health.

I might also note that both law and medicine also publish some academic research that is not based upon esoteric mathematics and statistics. For example, historical and philosophical research methodologies are still allowed in their most prestigious academic law and science journals, which currently is not the case for leading academic accounting research journals.

By way of example, since Joel Demski took charge of the accounting doctoral program at the University of Florida, every applicant to that doctoral program cannot even matriculate into the program before prerequisites of advanced mathematics are satisfied.

Students are required to demonstrate math competency prior to matriculating the doctoral program. Each student's background will be evaluated individually, and guidance provided on ways a student can ready themselves prior to beginning the doctoral course work. There are opportunities to complete preparatory course work at the University of Florida prior to matriculating our doctoral program. 
University of Florida Accounting Concentration  ---

Why does every candidate have to qualify in advanced mathematics rather than allowing substitutes such as advanced philosophy or advanced legal studies?

I might also add that science and medicine academic journals also still place monumental priorities on replications of research findings. Leading academic accounting research journals will not even publish replications and mostly as a result it is very difficult to find replications of most of the top academic accounting research papers published by so-called leading accounting researchers ---

More of my rants on this can be found in the following links:

July 17, 2007 reply from J. S. Gangolly [gangolly@CSC.ALBANY.EDU]


Your message raises many questions. I beg to differ from some of your answers, but am in substantial agreement in others..

1. Is accounting an academic discipline?

If one defines "academic" negatively as not vocational or applied, I think we can claim that accounting CAN be an academic discipline.

I think there is no Humean guillotine that should separate academic and professional. Even "academic" physics looks to "professional" physics (engineering) to be informed and to inform. In accounting, the purists have erected the Humean guillotine between the two. In fact, it has been fashionable in the "academician" accounting circles to deride those in the professional practice of accounting as "them". This should forebode the death of accounting as an academic discipline; moribund is a moniker that comes to mind.

2. Can accounting be a "pure" academic discipline?

We should distinguish between "pure" and "theoretical".

Webster's defines "pure" as: __________

1. Separate from all heterogeneous or extraneous matter; free from mixture or combination; clean; mere; simple; unmixed; as, pure water; pure clay; pure air; pure compassion.

2. Free from moral defilement or quilt; hence, innocent; guileless; chaste; -- applied to persons. ``Keep thyself pure.'' --1 Tim. v. 22.

3. Free from that which harms, vitiates, weakens, or pollutes; genuine; real; perfect; -- applied to things and actions. ``Pure religion and impartial laws.'' --Tickell. ``The pure, fine talk of Rome.'' --Ascham.

4. (Script.) Ritually clean; fitted for holy services. _________

The only sense I can think of accounting research of the D&F variety "pure" is the fourth sense above.

In the Social science disciplines, for example, you have "Theoretical" Sociology (a fascinating field; I took one graduate course as a student, but wish I had more of it. See the book by one of my mentors, Tom Fararo,  "theoretical" psychology ( ), "theoretical" anthropology (  and so on.

"Pure" is a loaded word, and is used almost exclusively in mathematics (and to some degree in chemistry, although the usage there today is probably archaic). Even physicists use "Theoretical" Physics, not Pure Physics.

I think "theoretical" would be a more meaningful term, but I am not sure. For what D&F probably meant, the appropriate term might be "applied economics" or "applied finance" rather than "pure" or "theoretical" accounting?

3. Why is the doctoral population in accounting is declining?

My guess is that to be a successful accounting academic these days, one has to live a lie. On the one hand, in the classes one is forced to pretend that we have an abiding interest in what happens in the professional world. On the other hand, in our "research" endeavours, to be successful, we have to ignore all the richness of the profesional real world and live in a make-believe world of least squares.

Those who have any idea of this will resist entry, and those, like me, who get into accounting by accident, decide not to live the lie but decide to stay, fall by the way side by working outside of accounting, and in accounting working outside of the mainstream.

There are exciting possibilities for research IN accounting, but the mainstream research for the past three decades has been, Stirling would say, mostly research ABOUT accounting. The distinction that used to be chiseled into our brains in the old days is gone, and the subsequent generations have lived in a make-believe world where profession is to be tolerated in the academia.

4.Does mathematics have a role in accounting research?

I think mathematics has a pivotal role for research IN accounting. Much of auditing and informartion systems should have a sound mathematical basis, but at present it does not. Requirements of mainstream empirical research does not encourage it.

I will not comment on managerial and financial accounting since I haven't done research in a very long time. But I suspect that mathematics (and NOT ordinary or extra-ordinary regression) CAN play an important role.

However, I am not sure a mechanical procedure of the Florida kind can do much. Mathematics is best learnt IN A CONTEXT. In the schools, the context is usually provided by physics, and in the old days, in college it used to be provided by economics. There is no reason doctoral programs can not develop mathematics courses where the context is accounting (managerial accounting would provide a great context for much of calculus and optimisation). But who has the motivation to spend time develop courses of that kind?

Mathematics that I have studied and practiced has played a very crucial role in my development as a person, but it hasn't in any way hindered my deep interest in philosophy as well as law. It is a matter of attitude, of humility to accept the importance of what one may not know, and the curiosity to learn it.

On another note, mathematics does not have a privileged status. There is no reason why philosophy, history, or one of the social sciences (including economics) can not share that exalted status. That has been the case in medicine as well as in law, and there is no reason why it can not be the case in accounting..

With kind regards,


July 17, 2007 reply from Glen Gray [glen.gray@CSUN.EDU]

If you go into a Chinese shop that sells porcelain figurines (statuettes), you will invariably see a reclining woman figurine. These reclining woman were used by doctors. Because a male doctor in China could not touch a woman that was not his wife, he would use the figurine instead. He would touch the figurine in a particular spot and say does it hurt here. The woman would also point to the figurine instead of herself.

Accounting research makes me think of those reclining women. We accounting academic researchers are truly outsiders in the accounting professions. Accounting firms are VERY reluctant to let us look at audit work papers--and then they are VERY, VERY restrictive what researchers can say about what they conclude based on those work papers. Users of accounting data are not any more open. Could you imagine going to a banker, an investment house, or a debt rating agency and trying to get detailed information on how they use accounting data to reach their conclusions.

We researchers are left looking a outputs (audit opinions, bond ratings, etc) and then we test hypotheses on what the inputs might have been and how those inputs may have been weighted and processes. Because we HAVE to do research, we keep using this model (look at output, guess at input and process) going because that is the best we can do. In this world it is not surprising that econometric (and other "mathematical") research wins out because they have an almost unlimited combination of outputs and inputs to test in terms of publicly available data supplied to regulatory bodies by companies.

Glen L. Gray, PhD, CPA
Dept. of Accounting & Information Systems
College of Business & Economics
California State University, Northridge
Northridge, CA 91330-8372

July 17, 2007 reply from J. S. Gangolly [gangolly@CSC.ALBANY.EDU]

True. Except that we talk to SURROGATE patients (student or other subjects in behavioural research to infer behaviour of realworld professionals, and gross aggregated evidence from database mills in "archival" research to link individual behaviour and macro-level data).

It is true that the academician's access to data is limited, but my experience is that most professionals are quite willing to talk about the problems they face. Once the problem is known, it is our task to find a way to solve it (by developing an algorithm, a plan of action, or a methodical way to address the issues). These research activities do not need real world data, but need abstractions from the real world to make the problem manageable. It is up to us to build models (mathematical or otherwise) which can be used to study the problems and develop solutions. That kind of work is just about taboo these days in mainstream accounting. After all, in the mainstream, our professed objective is to "describe" the situation, not to solve it.

There is a Humean guillotine between the academia (descriptive way of looking at the world) and the profession (need to solve real world problems; normative) in many disciplines (including medicine and law). Most "sciences" social as well as physical have, however, not forced the guillotine to come between the academia and the profession in shared understanding of problems; but unfortunately, in accounting, we have let it come between us and the profession.

I attend some conferences in computing and linguistics. I see a healthy but furious dialogue between the two; it is exciting, and both sides benefit. And the corporate folks who attend them too do not share the data with the academicians, but they discuss the problems and possible solutions.

Then I attend the accounting meetings (as I will, in a few weeks, at an expense that is almost half of my yearly GA stipend as a student many years ago) to just about waste my time (but for the recruiting efforts on behalf of my department) intellectually, except to meet old friends and speak with the VERY few with whom I share common research interests.

Unless we can stand up to the rigorous scrutiny by the profession of all the research work we do, accounting academia might as well outsource our work to the trade schools who actually might be more efficient in training the students.


July 18, 2007 reply from Paul Williams [Paul_Williams@NCSU.EDU]

Jagdish, et al Anthony Hopwood made some rather trenchant remarks in his presidential address at last year's AAA annual meeting. As he stated (correctly in my opinion) accounting is foremost a practice. A practice, by the way, that has significant consequences for all of us.

Jagdish, your observation about item four below is spot on. What we are dealing with in the US academy is theology, not the discipline of the academy. Note the program for the annual meeting in Chicago: we get Posner, Hayek, and neuroeconomics. Why not Sunstein, Krugman, or neuropsychology? All we ever get is propaganda, a controlled intellectual agenda that privileges the imaginary world of neoclassical economics. It is laughable that the theme for this year's meeting is IMAGINED WORLDS (plural) of ACCOUNTING in which the irony of the program ( unimaginative and one world) seems to be lost on the planners. Even as rebellion begins to grow within the discipline of economics (Heterdox Newsletter, Post-autistic Economics Journal) accounting stays wedded to an economics that any intellectually honest person must admit has done more harm to accounting as an academic and professional discipline than good.

In the spirit of being a contrarian: mathematics has nothing to do with accounting. Accounting is linguistic and is primarily a moral and political discourse. If only more academics noted Jagdish interest in philosophy and law and legal reasoning. Our math fetish is the illusion that because accounting generates numbers, it is a quantitative discipline (and perhaps because accounting academic salaries are much higher than those of truly imaginative mathematicians). But the numbers we deal with in accounting are operational numbers (fair value accounting carries this to an extreme case), i.e., not "quantities" but more indices, like exam scores, which we always pair with WORDS (e.g., liability, asset, expense). The "numbers" are subjective and the words? -- the same blessed imprecision that makes language such a useful thing. One reason that orthodox economics has failed completely as a predictive science is the illusion that because economics deals with prices, which have the appearance of "quantities", mathematical modeling is the way to go ( something we will learn in Chicago is that Hayek was adamately opposed to the mathematization of economics because economics is historically contextual). But prices are operational numbers -- subjective, not objective (this argument is from Donald Gillies, "Can Mathematics Be Used Successfully in Economics?" in A Guide to What's Wrong with Economics edited by Edward Fullbrook, 2004, London: Anthem Press).

And when we consider the arbitrary recipes we currently have for generating accounting "quantities" the conviction that the only way to understand accounting as a practice is via "rigorous" mathematical modeling makes one wonder what drugs these people are taking. Why would any intelligent person with a genuine commitment to scholarship (rather than a high paying job with good benefits and tenure) and a modicum of imagination want to do what the neoclassical theologians of the world compel them to do to be admitted to the academy's inner sanctum? Silly superstitions and mindless rituals may be fine for securing one's place in heaven, but for a "discipline" whose putative purpose for being is to LEARN something about a piece of the world, such exercises are less than useless. Anthony Hopwood rationalized the creation of AOS in an essay "Accounting from the Outside."

Now, by his own admission, we learn why Jadgish's contributions to this conversation are always so incisive and interesting -- he has chosen to be on the outside. I have just returned from the APIRA conference in Auckland. One of the Americans in attendance observed to me what a contrast this conference is from the AAA annual meeting. Of course, because the people in attendance at APIRA have, like Jagdish and I, chosen to remain on the outside where the conversation is much more interesting because we speak (often loudly and emphatically) with different voices and because, frankly, you meet a better educated class of people

What parts of a high school curriculum are the best predictors of success as a science major in college?

New research by professors at Harvard University and the University of Virginia has found that no single high school science course has an impact beyond that type of science, when it comes to predicting success in college science. However, the researchers found that a rigorous mathematics curriculum in high school has a significant impact on performance in college science courses. The research, which will be published in Science, runs counter to the “physics first” movement in which some educators have been advocating that physics come before biology and chemistry in the high school curriculum. The study was based on analysis of a broad pool of college students, their high school course patterns, and their performance in college science.
Inside Higher Ed, July 27, 2007 ---

Jensen Comment
Now we have this when some colleges are trying to promote applications and admissions by dropping the SAT testing requirements for admission. In Texas, the Top 10% of any state high school class do not have to even take the SAT for admission to any state university in Texas. Of course high schools may still have a rigorous mathematics curriculum, but what high school student aiming for the 10% rule is going to take any rigorous course that is not required for high school graduation? The problem is that rigorous elective courses carry a higher risk of lowering the all-important grade point average.

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

Grades are even worse than tests like the SAT/ACT tests as predictors of success

"The Wrong Traditions in Admissions," by William E. Sedlacek, Inside Higher Ed, July 27, 2007 ---

Grades and test scores have worked well as the prime criteria to evaluate applicants for admission, haven’t they? No! You’ve probably heard people say that over and over again, and figured that if the admissions experts believe it, you shouldn’t question them. But that long held conventional wisdom just isn’t true. Whatever value tests and grades have had in the past has been severely diminished. There are many reasons for this conclusion, including greater diversity among applicants by race, gender, sexual orientation and other dimensions that interact with career interests. Predicting success with so much variety among applicants with grades and test scores asks too much of those previous stalwarts of selection. They were never intended to carry such a heavy expectation and they just can’t do the job anymore, even if they once did. Another reason is purely statistical. We have had about 100 years to figure out how to measure verbal and quantitative skills better but we just can’t do it.

Grades are even worse than tests as predictors of success. The major reason is grade inflation. Everyone is getting higher grades these days, including those in high school, college, graduate, and professional school. Students are bunching up at the top of the grade distribution and we can’t distinguish among them in selecting who would make the best student at the next level.

We need a fresh approach. It is not good enough to feel constrained by the limitations of our current ways of conceiving of tests and grades. Instead of asking; “How can we make the SAT and other such tests better?” or “How can we adjust grades to make them better predictors of success?” we need to ask; “What kinds of measures will meet our needs now and in the future?” We do not need to ignore our current tests and grades, we need to add some new measures that expand the potential we can derive from assessment.

We appear to have forgotten why tests were created in the first place. While they were always considered to be useful in evaluating candidates, they were also considered to be more equitable than using prior grades because of the variation in quality among high schools.

Test results should be useful to educators — whether involved in academics or student services — by providing the basis to help students learn better and to analyze their needs. As currently designed, tests do not accomplish these objectives. How many of you have ever heard a colleague say “I can better educate my students because I know their SAT scores”? We need some things from our tests that currently we are not getting. We need tests that are fair to all and provide a good assessment of the developmental and learning needs of students, while being useful in selecting outstanding applicants. Our current tests don’t do that.

The rallying cry of “all for one and one for all” is one that is used often in developing what are thought of as fair and equitable measures. Commonly, the interpretation of how to handle diversity is to hone and fine-tune tests so they are work equally well for everyone (or at least to try to do that). However, if different groups have different experiences and varied ways of presenting their attributes and abilities, it is unlikely that one could develop a single measure, scale, test item etc. that could yield equally valid scores for all. If we concentrate on results rather than intentions, we could conclude that it is important to do an equally good job of selection for each group, not that we need to use the same measures for all to accomplish that goal. Equality of results, not process is most important.

Therefore, we should seek to retain the variance due to culture, race, gender, and other aspects of non-traditionality that may exist across diverse groups in our measures, rather than attempt to eliminate it. I define non-traditional persons as those with cultural experiences different from those of white middle-class males of European descent; those with less power to control their lives; and those who experience discrimination in the United States.

While the term “noncognitive” appears to be precise and “scientific” sounding, it has been used to describe a wide variety of attributes. Mostly it has been defined as something other than grades and test scores, including activities, school honors, personal statements, student involvement etc. In many cases those espousing noncognitive variables have confused a method (e.g. letters of recommendation) with what variable is being measured. One can look for many different things in a letter. Robert Sternberg’s system of viewing intelligence provides a model, but is important to know what sorts of abilities are being assessed and that those attributes are not just proxies for verbal and quantitative test scores. Noncognitive variables appear to be in Sternberg’s experiential and contextual domains, while standardized tests tend to reflect the componential domain. Noncognitive variables are useful for all students, they are particularly critical for non-traditional students, since standardized tests and prior grades may provide only a limited view of their potential.

I and my colleagues and students have developed a system of noncognitive variables that has worked well in many situations. The eight variables in the system are self-concept, realistic self-appraisal, handling the system (racism), long range goals, strong support person, community, leadership, and nontraditional knowledge. Measures of these dimensions are available at no cost in a variety of articles and in a book, Beyond the Big Test.

This Web site has previously featured how Oregon State University has used a version of this system very successfully in increasing their diversity and student success. Aside from increased retention of students, better referrals for student services have been experienced at Oregon State. The system has also been employed in selecting Gates Millennium Scholars. This program, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, provides full scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students of color from low-income families. The SAT scores of those not selected for scholarships were somewhat higher than those selected. To date this program has provided scholarships to more than 10,000 students attending more than 1,300 different colleges and universities. Their college GPAs are about 3.25, with five year retention rates of 87.5 percent and five year graduation rates of 77.5 percent, while attending some of the most selective colleges in the country. About two thirds are majoring in science and engineering.

The Washington State Achievers program has also employed the noncognitive variable system discussed above in identifying students from certain high schools that have received assistance from an intensive school reform program also funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. More than 40 percent of the students in this program are white, and overall the students in the program are enrolling in colleges and universities in the state and are doing well. The program provides high school and college mentors for students. The College Success Foundation is introducing a similar program in Washington, D.C., using the noncognitive variables my colleagues and I have developed.

Recent articles in this publication have discussed programs at the Educational Testing Service for graduate students and Tufts University for undergraduates that have incorporated noncognitive variables. While I applaud the efforts for reasons I have discussed here, there are questions I would ask of each program. What variables are you assessing in the program? Do the variables reflect diversity conceptually? What evidence do you have that the variables assessed correlate with student success? Are the evaluators of the applications trained to understand how individuals from varied backgrounds may present their attributes differently? Have the programs used the research available on noncognitive variables in developing their systems? How well are the individuals selected doing in school compared to those rejected or those selected using another system? What are the costs to the applicants? If there are increased costs to applicants, why are they not covered by ETS or Tufts?

Until these and related questions are answered these two programs seem like interesting ideas worth watching. In the meantime we can learn from the programs described above that have been successful in employing noncognitive variables. It is important for educators to resist half measures and to confront fully the many flaws of the traditional ways higher education has evaluated applicants.

William E. Sedlacek is professor emeritus at the University of Maryland at College Park. His latest book is Beyond the Big Test: Noncognitive Assessment in Higher Education

CUNY to Raise SAT Requirements for Admission
The City University of New York is beginning a drive to raise admissions requirements at its senior colleges, its first broad revision since its trustees voted to bar students needing remedial instruction from its bachelor’s degree programs nine years ago. In 2008, freshmen will have to show math SAT scores 20 to 30 points higher than they do now to enter the university’s top-tier colleges — Baruch, Brooklyn, City, Hunter and Queens — and its six other senior colleges.
Karen W. Arenson, "CUNY Plans to Raise Its Admissions Standards," The New York Times, July 28, 2007 ---

Kansas University Writing Center ---

A Harvard economics professor (Greg Mankiw) provides tips on how to write better ---

Resources for Writers: George Mason University ---

Writing Center Resources from Princeton University ---

Writing Center Resources from Purdue University  ---

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers ---

Transplant Pathology Case ---

Bob Jensen's links to tutorials in science and medicine are at

Global Knowledge Partnership: Online Interactions ---

Bob Jensen's threads on social science and philosophy tutorials are at

Venn Diagrams ---

Bob Jensen's links to tutorials in mathematics and statistics are at

"Spreadsheets in Education–The First 25 Years," by  John E Baker Director, Natural Maths  and Stephen J Sugden School of Information Technology, Bond University , July 24, 2003 ---

Spreadsheets made their first appearance for personal computers in 1979 in the form of VisiCalc [45], an application designed to help with accounting tasks. Since that time, the diversity of applications of the spreadsheet program is evidenced by its continual reappearance in scholarly journals. Nowhere is its application becoming more marked than in the field of education. From primary to tertiary levels, the spreadsheet is gradually increasing in its importance as a tool for teaching and learning. By way of an introduction to the new electronic journal Spreadsheets in Education, the editors have compiled this overview of the use of spreadsheets in education. The aim is to provide a comprehensive bibliography and springboard from which others may develop their own applications and reports on educational applications of spreadsheets. For despite its rising popularity, the spreadsheet has still a long way to go before becoming a universal tool for teaching and learning, and many opportunities for its application have yet to be explored. The basic paradigm of an array of rows-and-columns with automatic update and display of results has been extended with libraries of mathematical and statistical functions, versatile graphing and charting facilities, powerful add-ins such as Microsoft Excel’s Solver, attractive and highlyfunctional graphical user interfaces, and the ability to write custom code in languages such as Microsoft’s Visual Basic for Applications. It is difficult to believe that Bricklin, the original creator of VisiCalc could have imagined the modern form of the now ubiquitous spreadsheet program. But the basic idea of the electronic spreadsheet has stood the test of time; indeed it is nowadays an indispensable item of software, not only in business and in the home, but also in academe. This paper briefly examines the history of the spreadsheet, then goes on to give a survey of major books, papers and conference presentations over the past 25 years, all in the area of educational applications of spreadsheets.

Bob Jensen's threads on Tools and Tricks of the Trade in education technology can be found at

Bob Jensen's video tutorials on spreadsheets are at

Bob Jensen's threads on the history of education technologies are at

Richard Wagner Opera Tutorials

From the Scout Report on July 27, 2007

Searching for Gemutlichkeit and Gotterdammerung, the Wagnerian faithful travel to Bayreuth Wagnerian storm as composer’s scion battles to be Bayreuth queen,,2134184,00.html 

Scion’s ‘Meistersinger’ Eagerly Awaited --- Click Here

Going Backstage With Bayreuth Festival Singers [Real Player],2144,2703690,00.html 

Opera-less in the Realm of Wagner 

Opera 101 [Macromedia Flash Player] 

Opera Scores: Richard Wagner 

Art, Life, and Theories of Richard Wagner (From Cornell University)--- Click Here

Bob Jensen's links to music tutorials are at

Cheating Goes Unpunished in the Liberal Press

"Slate Attacks Plagiarizing Journalists," by Todd Huston, NewsBusters, July 30, 2007 --- Click Here

Slate is no tool of the "vast right wing conspiracy," for sure (and neither is its parent company the Washington Post), so it is pretty amazing to see a Slate contributor take his fellow liberal journalists to task in so stark a manner. But, for once, Slate is dead right on this one, folks. The "Journalism" biz never takes their plagiarizing miscreants to task and never makes them pay, but Jack Shafer sure did last Friday.

This time Shafer's ire is leveled at writer Michael Finkel who is famous for having invented a story that appeared in National Geographic about the slave labor of a small boy purportedly living on an Ivory Coast cocoa plantation. Yet here he is getting work once again in the MSM as if he was trustworthy and professional.

Shafer rips Finkel to pieces saying at one point, "If I had the constitution of a hanging judge, which I don't, I'd have sent Finkel directly to the gallows for his [slave story] lies."

But, more important than his ripping of writer Finkel, Shafer gives us a great reference to a study that proves that hardly any writer caught stealing others' words or making stories up out of whole cloth ever gets held to account in the MSM.

Despite its self-image as a profession that excommunicates and banishes those who violate its ethical codes, journalism routinely grants its miscreants second chances. For example, a 1995 Columbia Journalism Review piece about plagiarism documented the low price Nina Totenberg, Michael Kramer, Edwin Chen, Fox Butterfield, and 16 other journalists paid after being accused of nicking the words of other writers.

Author Trudy Lieberman found that nearly all of them were still in the business, and some of them had even kept their original jobs. As it turns out, not many publications force journalists to pay their debts to their profession and their readers. Often, they don't even send the bill.

If this doesn't prove that the media cares more about the agenda and the message than the truth, what does? And, if it doesn't prove that, it certainly proves that the word "professional" should never appear in conjunction with "journalism", nor that what they present should be trusted in any way.

In the past, Jack Shafer has claimed to be of a libertarian viewpoint and he has written about the failings of the media, so this attack on journalism isn't too far out of the ordinary, at least for him. Still, what he has to say here is something that we should see more often. On the other hand, maybe wide reporting on plagiarism in the media is something we should see less of because the media would consider truth and originality as an important concept?

Well, we can dream, can't we?

Bob Jensen's threads about plagiarism and cheating are at

Free Video Tutorials from Romania

July 28, 2007 message from Dan Gheorghe Somnea []

Dear Emeritus Professor Robert Bob Jensen,

I was visiting professor "a l'Université des Sciences et Technologies du Lille" in May.  Beside the topic I have a separate touristic page. There is a significant difference between the French Educational System and our Romanian one. I had courses at the Polytech University Lille (l'Ecole Polytech du Lille), and at the IAE Business School.

I visited Bruges (Belgium). For this reason I've attached some cultural links about this town and Lille, .

I wrote this message to tell you that I had added some video links on : :

Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, Epistemology, Experential Learning, Expert Systems, Future of IT, Haptic Devices, Instructional Design, Integrating Technology in Classroom, Interactive Courseware, Interactive Learnings Environment Systems, Mobile Learning, Network learning Systelms, and Ubiquitous Computing. In the same context, I mentioned two links about your contributions:

1. A link blog about Higher Education Controversies and

 2. Jensen's Video Tutorials and Other Helpers. This ".../IT" web site is watched only by Inktomi Search Engine. C'est la vie !

How are you ?

Yours faithfully,
Dan Gheorghe
prof. dr. ing. Dan Gheorghe
Somnea Int'l Business and Economics Department (IBED)
alias Faculty of ... (FIBE), the Academy of Economic Studies (AES),
Bucharest ROMANIA

A federal judge on Friday sentenced Joseph P. Nacchio, the former chief executive of Qwest Communications International, to six years in prison in what prosecutors called the largest insider-trading case in history.
Dan Frosch, The New York Times, July 28, 2007 ---

Bob Jensen's Rotten to the Core threads are at

The Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Protection Clause and Anthony Menendez, former E&Y Auditor
I received a message from Mr. Menendez telling me about his case of alleged bill and hold fraud

Anthony Menendez, who was Halliburton's director of technical accounting research and training, has accused the world's second-largest oilfield-services company of using so- called bill-and-hold accounting and other undisclosed practices to ``distort the timing of billions of dollars in revenue.'' In short, Menendez says this allowed Halliburton to book product sales improperly, before they occurred.
Jonathan Weil, "Halliburton's Accounting Might Make You Wonder," Bloomberg News, July 21, 2007 --- Click Here

The allegations are part of a 54-page complaint Menendez filed against Halliburton with a Labor Department administrative- law judge in Covington, Louisiana, who released the records in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. Menendez, who resigned last year and is seeking unspecified damages, says Halliburton retaliated against him in violation of the Sarbanes- Oxley Act's whistleblower provisions after he reported his concerns to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the company's audit committee.

Halliburton has denied the allegations. A company spokeswoman, Cathy Mann, says Halliburton's audit committee ``directed an independent investigation'' and ``concluded that the allegations were without merit.'' She declined to comment on bill-and-hold issues, and Halliburton's court filings in the case don't provide any details about its accounting practices.

Menendez, a 36-year-old former Ernst & Young LLP auditor, filed his complaint in December, shortly after a Labor Department investigator in Dallas rejected his retaliation claim. Mann says the company expects to prevail at trial.

Cause of Concern

Investors, of course, will care more about the reliability of Halliburton's numbers than whether Menendez wins. And a look at internal Halliburton documents Menendez filed with the court suggests there's reason for concern.

Here's how Menendez, who reported to Halliburton's chief accounting officer, summed up the bill-and-hold issue in his complaint:

``For example, the company recognizes revenue when the goods are parked in company warehouses, rather than delivered to the customer. Typically, these goods are not even assembled and ready for the customer. Furthermore, it is unknown as to when the goods will be ultimately assembled, tested, delivered to the customer and, finally, used by the company to perform the required oilfield services for the customer.''

If true, that would violate generally accepted accounting principles. For companies to recognize revenue before delivery, ``the risks of ownership must have passed to the buyer,'' the SEC's staff wrote in a 2003 accounting bulletin. There also ``must be a fixed schedule for delivery of the goods,'' and the product ``must be complete and ready for shipment,'' among other things.

`Terribly Flawed'

Shortly after joining Halliburton in March 2005, Menendez says he discovered a ``terribly flawed'' flow chart on the company's in-house Web site, called the Bill and Hold Decision Tree. The flow chart, a copy of which Menendez included in his complaint, walks through what to do in a situation where a ``customer has been billed for completed inventory which is being stored at a Halliburton facility.''

First, it asks: Based on the contract terms, ``has title passed to customer?'' If the answer is no -- and here's where it gets strange -- the employee is asked: ``Does transaction meet all of the `bill and hold' criteria for revenue recognition?'' If the answer to that question is yes, the decision tree says to do this: ``Recognize revenue.'' The decision tree didn't specify what the other criteria were.

At Odds

In other words, Halliburton told employees to recognize revenue even though the company still owned the product.

You don't have to be an accountant to see the problem.

``The policy in the chart is clearly at odds with generally accepted accounting principles,'' says Charles Mulford, a Georgia Institute of Technology accounting professor, who reviewed the court records. ``It's very clear cut. It's not gray.''

Bill-and-hold was at the heart of Sunbeam Corp.'s collapse in the late 1990s, and later blowups at Qwest Communications International Inc. and Nortel Networks Corp.

It is possible to use bill-and-hold and comply with the rules. But it's hard. The customer, not the seller, must request such treatment. The customer also must have a compelling reason for doing so. Customers rarely do.

SEC Inquiry

Menendez, who now works as a consultant, also accuses Halliburton of improper accounting for income taxes, off-balance- sheet entities and foreign-currency adjustments. Court records show he first alerted the SEC's enforcement division in November 2005, three months before he complained to Halliburton's audit committee.

In a Jan. 3 court filing, Halliburton said the SEC had closed its inquiry into the company's accounting practices.

Menendez told me, though, that he met with SEC investigators at the agency's Fort Worth, Texas, office as recently as March 28. He also shared a March 14 letter from an enforcement-division attorney there, which shows the travel itinerary the SEC arranged for him to attend that meeting. Mann, the Halliburton spokeswoman, declined to comment on whether the company has been notified of further SEC inquiries into Menendez's allegations.

Halliburton seemed to quell doubts about its books back in August 2004, when it paid $7.5 million to settle a two-year SEC probe. The agency faulted Halliburton's disclosures, but not its accounting. As long as investors trust a company's profits, they generally don't care how the company earns them. If they begin to suspect they shouldn't, though, look out.

You can read Menendez's complaint in three parts (I, II, III) on the following website: ---

Bob Jensen's threads on whistle blowing are at

Bob Jensen's threads on revenue reporting and frauds can be found at

Here's an older example of bill and hold fraud
Death by Accounting

To get companies to participate in a flu vaccine stockpile the government is dangling tons of new funding. Cash in hand is usually a very strong incentive. But a Clinton administration SEC policy prevents the vaccine makers from recognizing the revenue until the vaccine is delivered to the doctors, countering the very purpose of a stockpile. The Department of Health and Human Services' National Vaccine Advisory Committee concluded in early 2005 that for the stockpile program to be successful, "the revenue recognition issue must be resolved as soon as possible." It all began in late 1999, when the SEC issued "Staff Accounting Bulletin 101," which it painted as a modest clarification "not intended to change current guidance in the accounting literature." But in reality it was a radical change to the way companies could book revenue from "bill and hold" orders. This change would, at its least, lead to hindrances for innovative new companies. At its worst, it would discourage production of lifesaving products like vaccines.
John Berlau, "Death by Accounting?" The Wall Street Journal, October 21, 2005 ---

"Robbing the Rich to Give to the Richest,"  By Lynne Munson, Inside Higher Ed, July 26, 2007 ---
The student loan business is a lucrative one. But the senator is going after the wrong folks if he’s trying to rein in the biggest “fat cats” in academe. That mantle should rest on the shoulders of colleges and universities themselves. Legislators setting policy with regard to higher education should realize that colleges and universities are our nation’s richest — and possibly most miserly — “nonprofits.”

Colleges and universities are sitting on a fortune in tax-free funds, and sharing almost none of it. Higher education endowment assets alone total over $340 billion. Sixty-two institutions boast endowments over $1 billion. Harvard and Yale top the list with endowments so massive, $28 billion and $18 billion respectively, that they exceed the general operating funds for the states in which they reside. It’s not just elite private institutions that do this; four public universities have endowments that rank among the nation’s top 10. The University of Texas’ $13 billion endowment is the fourth largest nationwide, vastly overshadowing most of the Ivy League.

These endowments tower over their peers throughout the nonprofit world. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is America’s wealthiest museum. But the Met’s $2 billion endowment is bested by no less than 26 academic institutions, including the University of Minnesota, Washington University in St. Louis, and Emory. Indeed, the total worth of the top 25 college and university endowments is $11 billion greater than the combined assets of their equivalently ranked private foundations — including Gates, Ford and Rockefeller.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
All colleges that I've attended and/or worked for use the largest part of their endowment revenues for scholarships and assistantships.

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

A new natural-language system is based on 30 years of research at PARC
"Building a Better Search Engine," by Michael Reisman, MIT's Technology Review, July 27, 2007 --- 

Powerset, Inc., based in San Francisco, is on the verge of offering an innovative natural-language search engine, based on linguistic research at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). The engine does more than merely accept queries asked in the form of a question. The company claims that the engine finds the best answer by considering the meaning and context of the question and related Web pages.
"Powerset extracts deep concepts and relationships from the texts, and the users query and match them efficiently to deliver a better search," Powerset CEO Barney Pell says.

Even though attempts have been made at natural-language search for decades, Powerset says that its system is different because it has solved some of the fundamental technological problems that have existed with this kind of search. It has done so by developing a product that is deep, computationally advanced, and still economically viable.

Pell says that it's difficult to pinpoint one particular technological breakthrough, but he believes that Powerset's superiority lies in the three decades of hard work by
scientists at PARC. (PARC licensed much of its natural-language search technology to Powerset in February.) There was not one piece of technology that solved the problem, Pell says, but instead, it was the unification of many theories and fragments that pulled the project together.

"After 30 years, it's finally reached a point where it can be brought into the world," he says.

A key component of the search engine is a deep natural-language processing system that extracts the relationships between words; the system was developed from PARC's Xerox Linguistic
Environment (XLE) platform. The framework that this platform is based on, called Lexical Functional Grammar, enabled the team to write different grammar engines that help the search engine understand text. This includes a robust, broad-coverage grammar engine written by PARC. Pell also claims that the engine is better than others at dealing with ambiguity and determining the real meaning of a question or a sentence on a Web page. All these innovations make the system more adaptable, he says, so that it can extract deep relationships from text.

Continued in Article

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at

In the End, Workers Bear Most of Corporate Taxes Paid
A traditionally less-settled question has been one of incidence: Who bears the corporate tax burden? Some may be tempted with a quick answer, "corporations." But that is clearly wrong. The Econ 101 admonition that people pay taxes -- in this case, suppliers of capital through lower returns, workers through lower wages, and/or consumers through higher prices -- remains true even when the tax is aimed at capital. And the category "owners of corporate capital" (that is, stockholders) is also too narrow. In his celebrated analysis of the corporate tax almost 50 years ago, Arnold Harberger showed, for a closed economy, that a separate tax on corporate capital would reduce returns to all owners of capital, making it a tax on saving (and, in a framework more general than Mr. Harberger's, on investment). Recent research has cast an eye in a somewhat different direction, showing that the tax may be borne not entirely (or even principally) by owners of capital, but by workers. Globalization plays a role. In an open economy, with mobile capital, a source-based tax like the corporate tax will lead to a capital outflow, reducing investment and productivity and wages. Indeed, Mr. Harberger's updated research on the incidence of the corporate tax concluded that labor bears not just the brunt of the tax, but a burden that may be larger than the tax itself.
Glenn Hubbard, "The Corporate Tax Myth," The Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2007; Page A13 ---

"Share Video Captures and Huge Files for Free:  Two terrific tools: Jing gives you smart, painless video and screen captures; TransferBigFiles lets you share files of up to 1GB in size," by Steve Bass, PC World via The Washington Post, July 25, 2007 --- Click Here

I tried Jing this morning and I love it. It's smart and free, and a kick to use. In less than a minute, I figured out how to highlight a portion of my screen, record what I was watching, and save it to Jing's server, ready to share.

Jing is a freebie developed by TechSmith, the same people who sellSnagItandCamtasia, the industrial-strength screen and video capturing tools. I'm telling you this because I don't want you to be disappointed with Jing, especially, if you've used either of TechSmith's other programs. Jing is, as the PR guys said, a lightweight application. And for lots of people, that's just fine.

Jing sits on any side of your screen (I keep mine on top). Pull down the app--or hit a hotkey--and select Capture.

A pair of grid lines appear across the screen that let you choose the portion of the real estate you want to capture. The part of the screen that's grayed out isn't captured.

With a little fiddling, I discovered that watching the left-hand corner intersection is the key to seeing what's going to be captured. A small toolbar appears along the outside of the grid that lets you choose between grabbing an image or video.

I have two monitors, and if I snag the entire secondary monitor, the image toolbar is below the monitor's edge and out of sight. It wasn't obvious once I set the grid, but before I started capturing, I could drag the region to see the toolbar. The side benefit, which also wasn't obvious, is I could resize the capture region.

Once the capture is complete, I can save it to a file on my drive. What I like better, particularly with videos, is to put it on TechSmith's screencast site. That way I don't have to worry if my mother--or you, for that matter--has the right codecs or software to view the video. The file's saved as an SWF Flash and images are PNGs.

Everything you've captured is available from the program's history. You can see a thumbnail; from the history window, you can save the file locally, send it off to Screencast for sharing, or delete it.

You're wondering about TechSmith's benevolence, providing you with a neat freebie and online storage, right? There are scads of free screen capture utilities available. (I know, because every time I write about SnagIt, I get 40 e-mails telling me about all of them.) The folks at TechSmith have noticed that, too, and they're probably feeling left out. My guess is that once you're hooked on saving the files to their server, they're going to start charging for the online storage.

Either way, Jing's free for now, sograb a copyandtake a look at the tutorial, andlet me knowhow you like it.

I have a new way to send a gigantic files. No, I mean really gargantuan files, up to 1GB. Axosoft'sTransferBigFilesis a nice, free alternative toYouSendIt, the Web-based service program that only allows 100MB--unless you want to pay a fee.

TransferBigFiles lets you send up to five files at a time. I like being able to send a file to five people, too, though I'd prefer being able to blind-copy the recipients. Other features: You can password protect the file and get a confirmation that it's been downloaded. Files are held for five days and then deleted.

Chances are good that the folks at Axosoft will discontinue the service in a year (as did, another file transfer site), once they discover how much competition there is and that they won't become millionaires with this service. But for now, let's start transferring files.

Jensen Comment
I like YouSendIt for sending large files across the Internet.

Bob Jensen's bookmarks for sending large files are at

"10 Things We Hate About Microsoft:  Only ten? Yep--but these aren't the fish in a barrel you might expect," PC World staff via The Washington Post, July 23, 2007 --- Click Here

It's easy to complain about specific Microsoft products--heck, we've probably written a million words on our gripes about Windows alone. But for this list, we dug deeper into the things about Microsoft the company that just push us over the edge. For instance, the Blue Screen of Death isn't here--because it's already spoken for in our companion piece, "10 Things We Love About Microsoft."

For a similar love/hate appreciation of Microsoft's greatest competitor, see our articles "10 Things We Love About Apple" and "10 Things We Hate About Apple."

If you find the name of a particular Microsoft offering confusing and clunky, just wait--chances are, the company will relaunch the product with a new name that's even less euphonious. Examples are legion, from Windows Live Search Powered by Virtual Earth (formerly MSN Virtual Earth) to ASP.NET Web Service (formerly Managed C++ Web Service). But all these name switches do have one thing in common: They never result in a better product.

Compare that approach to Apple's, which favors simple one-word names to such an extent that it's given the same moniker--iMac--to three quite different computers over the last decade. At least Microsoft knows that it has a problem: Thisfamous video--which theorizes that if the iPod had hailed from Redmond, it would have been the I-pod Pro 2005 Human Ear Edition with Subscription--was produced by Microsoft itself.

No one likes to read standards documents because they're so boring. Maybe that's why Microsoft routinely ignores the Web guidelines set forth by the World Wide Web consortium when it comes to its Internet Explorer browser. (Or maybe it's the fact that they own over 70 percent of the browser market, according to a recent Janco Associates report.)

Since IE doesn't follow the rules, Web site developers have to write code that matches (at least) two standards; otherwise, pages won't display properly if you use the "wrong" browser. C'mon, Redmond! Would it really be that hard to play ball with the rest of the kids on the Internet playground?

On a side note, how can a company with as many coders as Microsoft has manage to create pages that don't work in Firefox?

We're sure that writing the first version of Windows required lots of pizza-fueled all-nighters. And creating Internet Explorer couldn't have been a walk on the beach with the Shangri-Las either. So we can understand being a little reluctant to throw that work away. But at some point--say, a decade or two later--it's surely time to start fresh with a new product. In Redmond, though, that time never seems to arrive.

We still have Windows teetering on its creaky old Registry. Instead of starting over fresh to replace something as flawed as Windows' user security, Microsoft retained XP's basic setup in Vista and "updated" it by tacking on the exceptionally annoying User Access Control.

Same goes for Internet Explorer 7. Microsoft kept about half of the program code from IE 6, arguably the most widely attacked program in the world, instead of dumping it all and starting over. And it didn't take long for hackers to find flaws that left both IE 6 and IE 7 vulnerable. Granted, starting afresh means losing compatibility with some older programs. But if the payoff is a more stable, more secure system, we'll take it.

The Customer Is Always Suspect, and Business Partners Stay Nervous

Being treated as a potential pirate may be a necessary concomittant of doing business with Microsoft, but did you know that the policy is actually a special benefit for you, the paying customer? Or that the diffidence of the company's hardware partners toward competing software has nothing to do with intimidation? Just ask Microsoft.

We don't blame Microsoft for getting agitated over the fact that Windows is among the most-pirated applications on the planet. We're okay with its minions' trying to stop that. But the Windows Genuine Advantage copy protection system it came up with has a nasty habit ofcausing problemsfor people who own legitimate copies of the software. And the most aggravating part is themarketing campaignfor "the WGA experience," which insists that going through this hassle is a big fat benefit for us, the users. As if we're all losing sleep over the remote possibility that our copy of Windows is counterfeit.

WGA would seem a little less painful if Microsoft treated its paying customers like grownups and simply said, "We're sorry to make you jump through these hoops, but it helps us prevent people from stealing our software."

Continued in article


The Future of Library Science
The new president of the American Library Association is a professor in a college not of library of science, but of information. Loriene Roy, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, has served as a reference librarian, a research associate, and a professor, and brings that varied background to the leadership of the ALA. In this podcast interview, she discusses the evolution of library science programs (including for some the evolution away from the “library name"), the role of professors within the association, and the growing role for library programs in training paraprofessionals who are taking on a growing number of roles in libraries.
Inside Higher Ed, July 25, 2007 ---

Is Facebook the New MySpace?
MySpace has an impressive lead today, but things can change quickly in the fluid world of mass-market social networking sites. Just ask Friendster. First Friendster was everybody's favorite social networking site. Then Friendster fell out of vogue--precipitously--and people stopped going there. In its place, MySpace became the darling of the Web. MySpace provided not only a free place to host your own online identity, but a full set of tools for meeting and interacting with others. Now everybody is talking about Facebook, which fits the same description, but in a very different way. Will Facebook become the next MySpace? I think so, and here's why.
Mark Sullivan, PC World via The Washington Post, July 20, 2007 --- Click Here

Should Stanford University accept research funding from the tobacco industry or the Department of Defense?
Stanford researchers remain free to accept funding from any source, after a resolution to prohibit research sponsorship by the tobacco industry was defeated, 21 to 10, by the Faculty Senate in May. The proposed ban had sparked intense discussion.
"Ban Up in Smoke," Stanford Magazine, July/August 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
But Stanford and most other universities have tight controls on "gifts" and kickbacks that may be accepted by faculty and staff, including luxury travel and dining. But potential conflicts of interest between professors and recruiters, lending companies, publishers, corporations hiring consultants, etc. will always be a troublesome issue.

Examining Vendor-College Ties
The National Association of College and University Business Officers plans to review its existing policies on the interaction between exhibitors and attendees at its annual meetings and to propose a set of “best practices” — and practices to be avoided — in the relationships between corporate vendors and colleges generally, the association’s top official said Monday.
Doug Lederman, "Examining Vendor-College Ties, Inside Higher Ed, July 31, 2007 ---

Trustees and Boards of Directors of Universities often have conflicts of interest ---

Professors and Colleges Skating on the Edge of Questionable Ethics ---

"Higher Ed’s Conflict of Interest Problem," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, June 6, 2007 ---

See Bob Jensen's threads on accountability and conflicts of interests ---

Current Life of an Undergraduate Student at Cal:  Not Much Time for TV
The University of California last week released statistics on undergraduates throughout the system. Among the findings: 23 percent were born outside the United States, and another 37 percent were born in the United States but have at least one parent who was not; 35 percent are not native speakers of English; 42 percent report that they are easily distracted in a way that hurts their academic success; in terms of time spent in various activities, they report spending an average of 13.1 hours per week on homework, 11.1 hours per week using the Internet for non-academic purposes, and 5.7 hours per week watching television.
Inside Higher Ed, July 24, 2007 ---

"Ideas to Shake Up Publishing," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, July 26 --- 

With some regularity, reports or op-eds note the economic struggles of most university presses and the difficulties they face publishing monographs that are vital to individual scholars’ careers, but that typically aren’t read by that many people — and that libraries can’t afford to buy. Concerns about the relationship between university presses and tenure, for example, led the Modern Language Association to propose moving beyond the “fetishization” of the monograph

Today, a new report called “University Publishing in a Digital Age” is being released by a group of experts on scholarly publishing — and they too are proposing radical changes in the way publishing works. The report — from Ithaka, a nonprofit group that promotes research and strategy for colleges to reflect changing technology — is based on a detailed study of university presses, which morphed into a larger examination of the relationship between presses, libraries and their universities.

The report and its authors are suggesting that university presses focus less on the book form and consider a major collaborative effort to assume many of the technological and marketing functions that most presses cannot afford, and that universities be more strategic about the relationship of presses to broader institutional goals.

“We’re trying to look at the whole ecosystem,” said Laura Brown, a lead author of the report and a consultant who was formerly president of Oxford University Press USA, “and it was instructive to see how much dysfunction is there.”

The report — based on interviews with university press directors, library deans, provosts and other academic leaders — finds that university presses are suffering from “a drift” in which they have become “less integrated with the core activities and missions of their home campuses.”

Digital scholarship, the report notes, is making publication much more diverse and less formal than it once was, as a scholar has many more options — many of them not relying on the vetting process of a university press — to distribute research findings or ideas. At the same time, university presses are not exactly flush with cash to make new investments to use technology. A survey conducted as part of the project found that most university presses have annual revenues of less than $3 million, that 70 percent run a deficit, and that most expect support from their parent universities to stay roughly level for the next five years.

What to do?

While the report offers many ideas, a major focus is to expand the online publication role of university presses and to create a mechanism for university presses to collaborate on many functions related to online publication of what now would generally appear in book form. The report notes that in the world of journals, efforts like JSTOR and Project Muse have in effect involved hundreds of journals sharing the cost of online distribution and marketing.

While many university presses have experimented with online publishing of books, there has not been the same switch in mindset about how scholarship is shared, nor about the possibility of shared infrastructure. (The report’s authors and Ithaka have numerous ties to JSTOR and its board, and they note in the report that JSTOR could well want to play a role in the transformations they suggest. But they note that other entities or new groups could as well, and a number of those excited about the study’s ideas have no ties to JSTOR.)

Continued in article

Update on Affirmative Action in Schools:  2007
There was a national sigh of relief on campuses in June when an altered U.S. Supreme Court left standing the historic 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger decision supporting affirmation action in admissions. There had been widespread fear among civil rights advocates that a more conservative Supreme Court would seriously undermine or even reverse the 5-4 Grutter decision with its author, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, no longer on the Court. The voluntary school integration decision in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education was, indeed, a serious reversal for desegregation in K-12 schools but while divided on the constitutionality of the school plans at issue in the cases, all nine justices agreed that the decision had no impact on the Grutter precedent. The rights of colleges to use race in admissions decisions for student body diversity had survived scrutiny by the most conservative Supreme Court in more than 70 years. Since the Supreme Court rarely takes such cases, the Grutter precedent might last for a while. While a bullet was dodged, optimism should be restrained. The dike protecting affirmative action has held but the river that brings diverse groups of students to colleges may be drying up as a result of the latest decision.
Gary Orfield, Erica Frankenberg and Liliana M. Garces, "Better Than Expected, Worse Than It Seems," Inside Higher Ed, July 24, 2007 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on affirmative action are at

How to Lie With Statistics
Is the United States falling behind India and China in education, science and technology?

“Apples and Oranges in the Flat World,” a booklet released Friday by the American Council on Education, offers guidance on how to make international comparisons and explains the limitations of those comparisons. The booklet was written by Jane V. Wellman, an education consultant who directs the Delta Project on Postsecondary Costs, Productivity and Accountability . . . The report also reviews the difficulties of comparing numbers of scientists or engineers being produced in different countries. The ACE study reviews the work of Duke University researchers, who have questioned statistics suggesting a huge growth in the numbers of Chinese engineers. Many of those engineers, the Duke study found, are not coming out of programs of the quality of American engineering colleges.
Scott Jaschik, "Apples and Oranges in International Statistics," Inside Higher Ed, July 23, 2007 ---

The booklet is available for $20 at

Sixty-One and Counting:  Colleges and Universities Refusing to Participate in the U.S. News Rankings Studies

Sixty-one college and university presidents have now signed a letter pledging not to participate in the “reputational” part of the U.S. News & World Report rankings, and not to use rankings in promotional materials. The letter, being circulated by the Education Conservancy, started off in May with 12 presidents.
Inside Higher Ed, July 23, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
Most of the refuseniks do not do well in the rankings. Whether or not this movement has a major impact depends greatly on whether some of the top-ranking colleges and universities opt out, especially the top research universities and the top national liberal arts colleges. One risk is that college applicants will commence to ask questions about why particular colleges refuse to enter into the "competition?"  Another risk is that rankings will continue based upon data in the public domain. This would end each college's ability to provide some helpful input into its own ranking.

Bob Jensen's threads on the rankings controversies are at

How to Find Conferences and Workshops

July 24, 2007 message from XXXXX

Hi Bob,

Thank you for all your efforts. I don't know if you have time to answer all your individual email, but I searched your web page to no avail looking for some type of site that comprehensively lists business and/or law-related conferences and calls for papers. I did find your comments I remember reading about fraudulent academic conferences.

For years, I collected information on business and law conference sites and hoped to put together something searchable by topic, date, location, organization, etc., but never was able to complete the task. Do you happen to know of any sites like that?

Thanks very much.

Reply from Bob Jensen on July 24, 2007


I've found there's a lot of moral hazard in listings of workshops and conferences, because there are so many that dance on the edge of being frauds or rip offs of third party payers such as a college that reimburses a faculty member for what becomes mostly an paid vacation --- 
Be especially aware of conference hosts who do not disclose on conference registration fees are being spent.

There's also a problem of the sheer number of workshops and conferences unless it's narrowed down.

For global accounting conferences, you might try entering appropriate terms (like conferences) at 

A better approach is to go to the Website trustworthy associations such as the AICPA, State Societies of CPAs, the American Tax Association, the American Accounting Association, the Association of Fraud Examiners. Then look for tabs to meetings and conferences.

There may be some added links among my search helpers at

Bob Jensen

July 24, 2007 reply from Dr. William Brent Carper []

Dear Bob:

An outstanding source for upcoming conferences and workshops is  edited by Andy Lymer and Andrew Priest. They also publish a weekly newswire Double Entries to which I encourage all of my accounting students subscribe in order to better understand financial accounting, reporting, and auditing in a global context. The following information is provided from a recent issue of Double Entries.

Double Entries is a weekly e-newsletter that provides up-to-date news of accounting and auditing around the world and is available both by email and on the World Wide Web at http// Double Entries is edited by Andrew Priest at the School of Accounting, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia and Andy Lymer, Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom. Correspondents come from the profession and academia. Further information, source of the material and contributor names for specific articles in Double Entries can be found online by referring to the specific article in the News section of Contributors: Andy Lymer [AL] (UK), Andrew Priest [AP], David Hardidge [DH], (Australia), Amelia Baldwin [AB], Roger Debreceny [RD] (US), Dave Kolitz [DK], Dieter Gloeck (South Africa), Nikoleta Radic [NR] (The Netherlands), Frank D'Andrea [FD] (Canada), Elisabeth Walliser [EW], Jean-Luc Rossignol [JR] (France), Nick Rowbottom (United Kingdom) [NR], Tony van Zijl [TV] (New Zealand, Barbara Weissenberger (Germany) [BW], Tan Bee Leng (Malaysia) and Rene Castro (Colombia).

Mailing Address: Ltd, Unit 100, The Guildhall, Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham, UK, B15 2TU. normally has an exhibit at the American Accounting Association (AAA) annual meeting. Thus, accounting colleagues hopefully once again will have the opportunity to learn more about all of the many outstanding services that provides at the upcoming AAA meeting in Chicago, as well as personally meet the editors.

If this correspondence sounds like a testimonial for, that is because it is! Andy Lymer, Andrew Priest, and staff do a marvelous job, and they deserve to be recognized for their continuing outstanding contributions to the global accounting profession!

Have a wonderful day!

Most sincerely,


"Fraud Cases Nab Scads of Corporate Heads," by Lara Jakes Jordan, SmartPros, July 18, 2007 --- 

Hundreds of high-ranking company officials have been convicted in corporate fraud schemes since 2002, the Justice Department said Tuesday - a day after a federal judge threw out charges in one of the largest criminal tax cases in U.S. history.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales called the U.S. District Court ruling, in favor of 13 former KPMG employees, disappointing and said he was "quite confident" the government would appeal.

"Obviously, we're disappointed, and we won't be discouraged or deterred from pursuing wrongdoing where we think it exists and following the evidence where it takes us," Gonzales told reporters following the long-planned Justice Department announcement regarding its efforts to curb corporate fraud. "So we're disappointed but we're going to stay focused on this very important issue."

In all, federal prosecutors have won 1,236 convictions in corporate fraud cases and reaped hundreds of millions in payback for victims over the last five years, said Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty.

At least one-third of the convictions came against company CEOs, presidents, counsel and other high-ranking officials, said McNulty, who chaired a government task force aimed at curbing corporate corruption in the aftermath of the Enron scandal that wiped out thousands of jobs, more than $60 billion in market value and more than $2 billion in employee pension plans.

McNulty, who is leaving the Justice Department by summer's end, last year authored changes to rules for prosecutors in corporate fraud cases. The result, known as the "McNulty Memo," bars prosecutors from charging businesses solely for refusing to hand over corporate attorney-client communications. It also prohibits the government from penalizing firms that pay attorneys' fees for employees - except in rare cases where the payments result in blocking the investigation.

Critics say that leaves open the possibility of firms that pay attorneys fees being publicly viewed as hindering investigations - a death knell in an ethics-sensitive business era. Last week, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., introduced legislation to bar prosecutors from pressuring corporations against paying legal fees or demanding attorney-client information. The bill is similar to one filed last year by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa.

In the KPMG case Monday, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan in New York said the government coerced the giant tax firm to limit and then cut off its payment of the employees' legal fees - stripping the 13 defendants' constitutional right to legal representation. The former KPMG employees were accused of participating in a fraud that helped the wealthy escape $2.5 billion in taxes. (Charges are still pending against several higher ranking KPMG executives.)

The case was not mentioned during Tuesday's hour-long ceremony, which doubled as a public send-off for McNulty. The memo, McNulty said, should encourage firms "to engage in more robust self-assessment of their internal controls."

Bob Jensen's threads on fraud are at

Bob Jensen's threads on why white collar crime often pays even if you know you're going to get caught are at

Why they do it is hypothesized at

July 23, 2007 message from Thomas Weise []

Dear Mr. Jensen.

I am currently writing an open, freely available computer science e-book. This e-book is devoted to global optimization algorithms, which are methods to find optimal solutions for given problems. It especially focuses on evolutionary computation by discussing evolutionary algorithms, genetic algorithms, genetic programming, learning classifier systems, evolution strategy, differential evolution, particle swarm optimization, and ant colony optimization. It also elaborates on meta-heuristics like simulated annealing, hill climbing, tabu search, and random optimization.

With this book, I want to make it easier for students and fellow researchers to get started with these interesting topics. I believe that it is a valuable resource for both, students and (beginning) fellow researches.

I would be very happy if you would add it to your catalogue. You can find the book at . It includes a bibtex citation-suggestion . Notice that the book is currently worked on, it will be improved, revised, extended, and corrected consecutively. This means that providing a downloaded copy on your site would probably make no sense, a direct link would be better. This book is licensed under the Gnu Free Documentation License FDL.

Kindest regards,
Sincerely yours,
Thomas Weise.

July 24, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Thomas,

Even though it is not entirely a textbook, I added your link to 

It may be several days before I transfer the above file to my server in Texas. Be patient and you will see it soon.

I also added the link to Bob Jensen's links to mathematics and statistics tutorials are at 

Thank you for telling me about this book.

Bob Jensen

From the Scout Report on July 27, 2007

JAlbum 7.2 --- 

Photos are meant to be shared, and this latest release of JAlbum will help users get their images to those they care about. While the usual features remain the same (such as the ability to create new skins and online photo album publishing), this new version has a couple of additions worth mentioning. First, visitors have access to several new interactive tutorials and they can also upload entire projects to their website. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer.

Baseball Widget 2.5 --- 

From the Beloit Snappers to the Boston Red Sox, this powerful little widget can keep baseball aficionados in the know. After installing this widget, visitors can view the current scoreboard, check out results from previous days, and even look at the schedule for the upcoming week. This version of Baseball Widget is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.4.3 and newer.


From The Washington Post on July 23, 2007

What was the name of a technique invented in the early 1970s that often used reverse-chronological blog-like ordering?

A. talk.text
B. .plan file
C. net.log
D. .me folder

From The Washington Post on July 24, 2007

Which country has the cheapest monthly subscription rate for broadband?

A. Germany
B. Ireland
C. United States
D. Sweden
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.

From The Washington Post on July 27, 2007

What is the speed of the world's fastest residential Internet uplink?

A. 10 gigabits per second
B. 20 gigabits per second
C. 40 gigabits per second
D. 80 gigabits per second


Updates from WebMD ---


"Despite progress, HIV treatment still a failure: AIDS chief," PhysOrg, July 22, 2007 ---

Blocking Insulin in the Brain Lengthens Life Span
Recent findings help explain the roles of exercise and diet in longevity. A new mouse study shows that reducing insulin signaling, specifically in the brain, boosts longevity. The findings help explain two seemingly contradictory observations: people with type 1 diabetes lack insulin-producing cells and must inject the peptide in order to stay healthy. But studies in mice and flies show that reducing insulin lengthens life span.
Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, July 20, 2007 ---

Faster-acting antidepressants closer to becoming a reality

A new study has revealed more about how the medication ketamine, when used experimentally for depression, relieves symptoms of the disorder in hours instead of the weeks or months it takes for current antidepressants to work. While ketamine itself probably won’t come into use as an antidepressant because of its side effects, the new finding moves scientists considerably closer to understanding how to develop faster-acting antidepressant medications – among the priorities of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health.
PhysOrg, July 24, 2007 ---

Motivational Interviews May Violate Campus Policy
Brief “motivational interviews” appear to have a long-term impact on college students found in violation of campus alcohol rules, and perhaps more of an impact than other punishments, according to new research published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research
Inside Higher Ed
, July 25, 2007 ---

Woman gives birth to her grandchildren
Being "your own grandpa" is more of a challenge

A Florida woman gave birth to her own grandchildren through in vitro fertilization after her daughter was treated for cervical cancer. Ann Stolper, 59, of Delray Beach, gave birth in December to Itai and Maya Chomsky, the twin children of her daughter, Caryn Chomsky, The Miami Herald reported Saturday . . . In general, doctors won't implant an embryo in a woman older than 55. But Stolper's heart health, blood pressure and fitness made her a candidate so she was implanted with her daughter's eggs fertilized with Ayal's sperm.
PhysOrg, July 22, 2007 ---

New model for autism suggests women carry the disorder and explains age as a risk factor
A new model for understanding how autism is acquired has been developed by a team of researchers led by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Autism is a developmental disorder, characterized by language impairments, social deficits, and repetitive behaviors.
PhysOrg, July 24, 2007 ---

New answers about skin cancer have come from an unusual source: a rare and painful childhood disease that has researchers acting with urgency.

Skin cancer is on the rise, and Stanford researchers are finding new ways to evaluate and treat it—by studying everything from hair regeneration to a rare genetic condition.
Sara Solovitch, "The Dark Side of the Sun," Stanford Magazine, July/August 2007 ---

Stores continue to sell recalled canned chili, stew, hash and other foods potentially contaminated with poisonous bacteria even after repeated warnings.
The New York Times, July 28, 2007 ---

From WebMD on July 12, 2007 --- Click Here
Is The Thong All Wrong for Women's Health?

Prevent smoking to reduce risk of erectile dysfunction
Men who smoke cigarettes run an increased risk of experiencing erectile dysfunction, and the more cigarettes smoked, the greater the risk, according to a study by Tulane University researchers published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
PhysOrg, July 27, 2007 --- 

Proving What Every Bartender Already Knows
Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions said several researchers had learned that one's life experiences can dramatically affect the strength of the brain's neural impulses in relation to memory. Neuroscience professor David Linden said by electrifying slices of a rat's brain, he and his fellow researchers were able to discover a biochemical mechanism linked to memory storage in the brain. The particular brain receptor targeted by the study is called mGluR1 and has been tied to both epilepsy and addiction.
"Study: Life can alter one's memory storage," PhysOrg, July 22, 2007 ---

Five Best Books on Political Murders

"Murder Most Foul These works excel in tracking the unsettling history of assassinations," by George Fetherling, The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2007 ---

1. "Royal Murders" by Dulcie M. Ashdown (Sutton, 1998).

Motives for assassination vary from one era to the next and from one culture to another. Perhaps the biggest change in the bloody history of assassination followed the revolutions in France and America and the rise of republicanism, which made regicide largely obsolete. Such at least is the message to be inferred from "Royal Murders," Dulcie M. Ashdown's 1,000-year survey of the murders of European rulers. Ashdown is known in Britain as a genial writer on such subjects as the queen mother, the princess of Wales and royal matters generally. It is a careful book of broad range that avoids sensationalism. It is strongest when dealing with long-ago assassinations, such as the shooting of King Gustav III of Sweden at a masked ball in 1792. Ashdown's revision of the text in 2000 dulled the sharp focus somewhat--the first edition is preferable.

2. "Political Murder" by Franklin L. Ford (Harvard, 1985).

Franklin L. Ford, a serious academic historian, performs a difficult task well: writing a narrative history of assassination going back to biblical times. He concludes that assassination conspiracies have always abounded, since rulers and states have always stood to benefit from disposing of their enemies. Yet the most successful political assassins, he believes, approximate the pop-culture stereotype of lone killers who act primarily to earn a place in history, snuffing out useful lives so that their meaningless ones will be remembered. Assassins are usually forgotten, however, with a few obvious exceptions (John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald). Many Americans--though perhaps not a great many--know that a Bosnian-Serb named Gavrilo Princip shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, because World War I was the result. How many remember who killed Presidents Garfield and McKinley?

3. "Killing No Murder" by Edward Hyams (Thomas Nelson, 1969).

In contrast to Franklin L. Ford, Edward Hyams believes that many assassins intend to make the world a better place, if only by eliminating despots. Often, in Hyams's soberly expressed and not intentionally outrageous view, the victims of assassination are seen to be getting what they deserved. He cites the vivid example of Umberto I of Italy. Restive workers and members of the budding anarchist movement in the late 19th century chafed under Umberto's authoritarian rule. As Italy's economy declined and turmoil mounted, riots broke out in Milan in 1898 and were violently put down by government troops, leaving hundreds dead. Two years later, Umberto was killed by anarchist Gaetano Bresci, who claimed that he was avenging the deaths in Milan. Murderous anarchists would plague Europe and America for more than a decade.

4. "Assassination" by Linda Laucella (Lowell House, 1998).

Like Edward Hyams and too few other writers, Linda Laucella uses the word "assassin" correctly, to include those whose attempts were unsuccessful. Hence in "Assassination: The Politics of Murder" she discusses not only the killings of John F. Kennedy, Huey Long and many others but also the failed bids to dispatch Fidel Castro, Charles de Gaulle and Ronald Reagan. Throughout the book--which begins slowly in the ancient world but picks up considerable velocity once it reaches the second half of the 20th century--she looks at assassins as individuals, whereas most other authors are concerned largely with the crime itself and its victims. Laucella also allots more space than is customary to considering the conspiracy theories that almost inevitably follow an assassination.

5. "American Brutus" by Michael W. Kauffman (Random House, 2004).

After 30 years of research, Michael Kauffman produced perhaps the most penetrating book about the inner workings of an individual assassin. His depiction of John Wilkes Booth is not the usual caricature of a famous but delusional actor who gets off a lucky shot at Abraham Lincoln. Rather, Kauffman's Booth is the author of the 19th century's most complex assassination conspiracy, designed to cripple the country's command structure by eliminating the president, vice president and secretary of state in a single night's work. Kauffman writes reliably about psychology while sparing us the usual guesswork about Booth's mental state, and he does an excellent job evoking the draconian suspension of civil liberties in the desperate days after the assassination, when authorities ran the killer and his conspirators to ground.

Mr. Fetherling, a Canadian novelist and poet, is the author of "The Book of Assassins" (John Wiley).

Forwarded by Dr. Wolff


1. A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.

2. A will is a dead giveaway.

3. Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

4. A backward poet writes inverse.

5. In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your Count that votes.

6. A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.

7. If you don't pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.

8. With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.

9. Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A-flat miner.

10. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

11. The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.

12. A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France resulted in Linoleum Blownapart.

13. You are stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.

14. Local Area Network in Australia : The LAN down under.

15. He broke into song because he couldn't find the key.

16. A calendar's days are numbered.

17. A lot of money is tainted: 'Taint yours, and 'taint mine.

18. A boiled egg is hard to beat.

19. He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

20. A plateau is a high form of flattery.

21. The short fortune teller who escaped from prison: a small medium at large.

22. Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

23. When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.

24. If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.

25. When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.

26. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.

27. Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.

28. Acupuncture: a jab well done.

29. Marathon runners with bad shoes suffer the agony of de feet.

Forwarded by Paula

The English Language
Asylum for the Verbally Insane

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in
eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England . We take English for
granted, but if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings
are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guineanor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't
groce and hammers don't ham. Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make
amends but not one amend. If you have a bunch of odds and ends and
get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian
eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all
the folks who grew up speaking English should be committed to an
asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a
recital? We ship by truck but send cargo by ship. We have noses that
run and feet that smell. And how can a slim chance and a fat chance
be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your
house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by
filling it out, and in which an alarm goes off by going on.

So if Father is Pop, how come Mother isn't Mop?

And that is just the beginning--even though this is the end!


Tidbits Archives ---

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

Three Finance Blogs

Jim Mahar's FinanceProfessor Blog ---
FinancialRounds Blog ---
Karen Alpert's FinancialMusings (Australia) ---

Some Accounting Blogs

Paul Pacter's IAS Plus (International Accounting) ---
International Association of Accountants News --- and Double Entries ---
Gerald Trite's eBusiness and XBRL Blogs ---
AccountingWeb ---   
SmartPros ---

Bob Jensen's Sort-of Blogs ---
Current and past editions of my newsletter called New Bookmarks ---
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Tidbits ---
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates ---

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 ---

Shared Open Courseware (OCW) from Around the World: OKI, MIT, Rice, Berkeley, Yale, and Other Sharing Universities ---

Free Textbooks and Cases ---

Free Mathematics and Statistics Tutorials ---

Free Science and Medicine Tutorials ---

Free Social Science and Philosophy Tutorials ---

Free Education Discipline Tutorials ---

Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

Teacher Source:  Arts and Literature ---

Teacher Source:  Health & Fitness ---

Teacher Source: Math ---

Teacher Source:  Science ---

Teacher Source:  PreK2 ---

Teacher Source:  Library Media ---

Free Education and Research Videos from Harvard University ---

VYOM eBooks Directory ---

From Princeton Online
The Incredible Art Department ---

Online Mathematics Textbooks --- 

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives ---

Moodle  --- 

The word moodle is an acronym for "modular object-oriented dynamic learning environment", which is quite a mouthful. The Scout Report stated the following about Moodle 1.7. It is a tremendously helpful opens-source e-learning platform. With Moodle, educators can create a wide range of online courses with features that include forums, quizzes, blogs, wikis, chat rooms, and surveys. On the Moodle website, visitors can also learn about other features and read about recent updates to the program. This application is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer or Mac OS X and newer.

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

Accountancy Discussion ListServs:

For an elaboration on the reasons you should join a ListServ (usually for free) go to
AECM (Educators) 
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

Roles of a ListServ ---

CPAS-L (Practitioners) 
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)
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.
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 
This discussion group is headed by Randy Schostag [RSchostag@BUSVALGROUP.COM



Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
190 Sunset Hill Road
Sugar Hill, NH 03586
Phone:  603-823-8482