In 2017 my Website was migrated to the clouds and reduced in size.
Hence some links below are broken.
One thing to try if a “www” link is broken is to substitute “faculty” for “www”
For example a broken link[RJ1] 
can be changed to corrected link
However in some cases files had to be removed to reduce the size of my Website
Contact me at if you really need to file that is missing



The Sunset Hill Hotel-Resort on Sunset Hill above the Village of Sugar Hill, NH in the early 1900s had sleeping accommodations for 340 guests, although I doubt that it ever had that many guests at any one time. It also had a golf course, tennis courts, a casino, a horse barn, and a one-lane bowling alley. Horse carriages took guests to and from the train depot in Franconia for breezy summers and winter skiing. The resort's Power House building now serves as our barn. Most of the Resort's run-down buildings were torn down in the 1970s.

Lon Henderson wrote the following about the original Hotel and the Annex:

Dear Bob,

The original hotel opened for business on June 1st 1880. As far as the Easter Sunrise services, I don’t know when they began being held at the old hotel except that it was vicinity of WWII. Nancy Aldrich of Polly’s almost certainly knows the answer to that question as she has a scrapbook she’s made dating back, I think, to the first sunrise service here. What they did is use the old front porch, they never went inside as the hotel was only open seasonally throughout its life. As for when the old hotel was demolished, that began in Oct 1973 and finished in early 1974. There’s a good history of the demolition at the Sugar Hill Sampler. On Oct 7,8,9 they auctioned off everything of value in the hotel including entire rooms. If, for example, you won room 106, you could take the floor, the bath fixtures, the lights, the furniture, the bedding, the windows—you name it. . . .

Talk to you later,


Our house at one time was alongside the golf course and initially served as the golf and tennis "Pavilion." It was later converted into the Brayton Summer Cottage on the hotel grounds. After the resort was leveled, the Brayton Cottage was moved across a tennis court to a new basement dug where the Hotel's dining room had panoramic views toward New Hampshire's White Mountains to the east and Vermont's Green Mountains to the west. A garage, bedroom and an outside art studio were added when the cottage was winterized after being moved. The old tennis court is now just a rise in the back yard that I have to mow. Aside from the old Power House, the Annex, and two other buildings outside the perimeter of our property, the only remnants of the Resort are bits and pieces of its sidewalks in our woods and in our wildflower field.

The Wikipedia entry for Sugar Hill has several postcard views of the original Sunset Hill House Hotel ---,_New_Hampshire

I once featured the old Sunset Hill Hotel and discussed the reasons that it and most other historic resorts went down hill with the demise of
passenger rail, the invention of air conditioning that made it unnecessary to summer in the mountains to get away from stifling
 city heat, the automobile, and the rise of airlines that made remote vacationing possible in Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand,
Hawaii, etc. ---
Below is a postcard view of the 1910 hotel that I featured in the March 26, 2007 edition of Tidbits.

As I mentioned above, our cottage now sits where the old Sunset Hill Hotel appears in the above postcards.
Here's Erika tending the garden on the south side of the relocated cottage
The second picture below is the south side of our snug cottage in winter.

The present-day Sunset Hill House Hotel is a restoration of the Resort's old Annex ---  
It is owned and operated by our good friends Nancy and Lon Henderson.
Erika and I love to walk over to its warming tavern during early-evening blizzards or ride in a golf cart for summer dining.
It's open in the winter for cross-country and Cannon Mountain's down-hill skiers.

The beautiful view of these same mountains that I look at from my desk is shown below.
The bright light is the camera flash on the window.


And yes we have pesky moles all over the yard, a fat and lumbering ground hog living under our studio, mushrooms, moss, chipmunks, wild turkeys, bears, hoot owls, cicadas, frogs in our pond, moose, deer, wild screaming Fisher cats, bobcats, and hawks. Crows drive me to distraction at sunrise. I don't know of any gray wolves, but there are coyotes that worry a sheep and cattle farmer down the road.

Poems About Mountains ---

Always she reigns, with absolute rule,
and her rule is bounty and blessing.
She is the daughter of Sun, the son
of Moon, and waxes, heaves, cries, folds,
sings. She sings and there is silence. I AM

the Mountain. I go into these hills
as into my Self. Ground hogs, moles,
mushroom, moss, hawk, and helix-
spiral of flower and cone, cicadas
are my messengers. Leaves fallen
from trees are my skin. Gray wolves
are my solitude . . .

The Wikipedia entry for Sugar Hill has some other historic pictures of old Sugar Hill ---,_New_Hampshire

In an interview Friday on NBC, the world's most famous basketball player told Chris Collinsworth how he got "goosebumps" when he received his Olympics uniform. "I actually just looked at it for a while. I just held it there and I laid it across my bed and I just stared at it for a few minutes; just because as a kid growing up this is the ultimate, ultimate in basketball." The Los Angeles Laker went on to call the U.S. "the greatest country in the world. It has given us so many great opportunities, and it's just a sense of pride that you have; that you say, 'You know what? Our country is the best.'" Mr. Collinsworth seemed either startled or impressed by such sentiment, and asked, "Is that a cool thing to say in this day and age? That you love your country, and that you're fighting for the red, white and blue? It seems sort of like a day gone by." To which Mr. Bryant replied: "No, it's a cool thing for me to say. I feel great about it, and I'm not ashamed to say it. I mean, this is a tremendous honor."
"Our Country Is the Best," The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2008 ---
Jensen Comment
Just goes to show you that Kobe Bryant never paid any heed, to Jeremiah Wright's Hate America sermons.
I may even become a (cough) a Laker fan.

Thank You America --- Click Here
More songs of inspiration and hope ---


Tidbits on August 24, 2008
Bob Jensen

For earlier editions of Tidbits go to
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to 

Despite these noteworthy linguistic strides, the Academy presents Orwell 2008 to a college counselor who advises his clients to deliberately make mistakes on their applications so they "don’t sound like robots." After all, "if you fall into the trap of trying to do everything perfectly," without "typos" and other "creative errors," there's just "no spark left."
Fifteenth Annual Emperor's Awards, Guest commentary by Poor Elijah (Peter Berger), The Irascible Professor, August 19, 2008 ---
Jensen Comment
The same can be said for blogs and newsletters but probably not for books and journal articles.

On May 14, 2006 I retired from Trinity University after a long and wonderful career as an accounting professor in four universities. I was generously granted "Emeritus" status by the Trustees of Trinity University. My wife and I now live in a cottage in the White Mountains of New Hampshire ---

Bob Jensen's Threads ---

Bob Jensen's 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 ---
Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures --- 


Free Online Textbooks, Videos, and Tutorials ---
Free Tutorials in Various Disciplines ---
Edutainment and Learning Games ---
Open Sharing Courses ---

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 ---

Hilarious 2008 Olympics Moment ---

NSF and the Birth of the Internet (video and slide show) ---  
How Internet Stuff Works ---

International Olympic Committee (video) ---

NOVA: Lord of the Ants (video) ---

From the Scout Report on August 15, 2008

First female champion hog caller crowned at the Illinois State Fair It takes style to call hogs and hubbies --- Click Here

Hogs called via cell phone at state fair --- Click Here

Meet the Illinois State Fair hog-calling champion,hog081208.article 

Iowa Public Television: Hog Calling (video) --- 

Calling the Hogs: Arkansas Alumni Association ---


Conan O'Brien ''Pilobolus'' ---

"An American Carol":Watch the Comedy Preview ---
Yet, that's exactly what David Zucker, the film director that has brought America such comedy classics as "Kentucky Fried Movie," "Airplane," and "The Naked Gun," will be offering viewers soon with a movie entitled "An American Carol" (Click Here to Watch the Preview)
Newsbusters, August 13, 2008 --- Click Here

Free music downloads ---

Thank You America --- Click Here
More songs of inspiration and hope ---

Celebrated composer John Adams says that some of his best ideas for pieces come out of his dreams. Like the time he dreamt he was driving up Interstate 5 in California and was approached by two black stretch limousines, which turned into pianos and blared arpeggios from their windows.
Listen to the Concert ---

Britain's Six Year Old Connie (without her two front teeth)
I like this one better video (slide show) ---
Winning at a talent show ---

Homesick for Texas

Me and Bobby McGee (Willie, Waylon, Johnnie, and Kris) ---

America (Waylon Jennings) ---

While working on the computer, Bob Jensen often listens to (free and without commercials) ---
Even better for this old guy from the jukebox era (just let it play through) ---

But I listen most to Soldiers Radio Live ---
Also note
U.S. Army Band recordings ---

Photographs and Art

Panorama from inside the cockpit of an Airbus A380 ---

If this is earth, what is heaven like? ---

Albino Peacock Video ---

A cleverly-constructed timeline on the history of the world's great religions ---
Museum of Biblical Art (video) ---

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) ---

Lego Tableaus Re-Create Classic Photos ---

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 ---

Poetry Everywhere ---

European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies ---

Bulgakov's Master and Margarita (Russian Novel) ---

Forensic Chemistry Lab Manual (includes interesting stories) ---

EconStats ---
Also see

Forwarded by Eileen on August 21, 2008
"Theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber..."
So begins the winner of the 2008 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, in which competitors write incredibly bad opening sentences to incredibly bad novels. Read the full results here ( ).
Visit the following URL to read the rest of the article:

Free Online Textbooks, Videos, and Tutorials ---
Free Tutorials in Various Disciplines ---
Edutainment and Learning Games ---
Open Sharing Courses ---


Fashions come and go, but style is eternal.
Andy Warhol as quoted in a recent email message from Patricia Doherty

Meanwhile, Unknown Daughter is reading Fairytopia. Thus speaks the chromosomal divide.
The Unknown Professor's Financial Rounds Blog on August 8, 2008 ---
He notes that his young son is reading the book Sir Fartsalot Hunts the Booger by Kevin Bolger while his young daughter is reading Fairytopia by Cicely Mary Barker.

In an interview Friday on NBC, the world's most famous basketball player told Chris Collinsworth how he got "goosebumps" when he received his Olympics uniform. "I actually just looked at it for a while. I just held it there and I laid it across my bed and I just stared at it for a few minutes; just because as a kid growing up this is the ultimate, ultimate in basketball." The Los Angeles Laker went on to call the U.S. "the greatest country in the world. It has given us so many great opportunities, and it's just a sense of pride that you have; that you say, 'You know what? Our country is the best.'" Mr. Collinsworth seemed either startled or impressed by such sentiment, and asked, "Is that a cool thing to say in this day and age? That you love your country, and that you're fighting for the red, white and blue? It seems sort of like a day gone by." To which Mr. Bryant replied: "No, it's a cool thing for me to say. I feel great about it, and I'm not ashamed to say it. I mean, this is a tremendous honor."
"Our Country Is the Best," The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2008 ---
Jensen Comment
Just goes to show you that Kobe Bryant never paid any heed, to Jeremiah Wright's Hate America sermons.
I may even become a (cough) a Laker fan.

But Mr. McCain provided, in 2004, one of the most exciting and certainly the most charged moment of the Republican Convention, when he looked up at Michael Moore in the press stands and said, "Our choice wasn't between a benign status quo and the bloodshed of war, it was between war and a greater threat. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. . . . And certainly not a disingenuous filmmaker who would have us believe that Saddam's Iraq was an oasis of peace." It blew the roof off. And the smile he gave Mr. Moore was one of pure, delighted malice. When Mr. McCain comes to play, he comes to play . . . I still think a one-term pledge could win it for him, because it would allow America to punt. It would make the 2008 choice seem less fateful. People don't mind the chance to defer a choice when they're not at all sure about the product. It would give bitter Democrats a chance to regroup, and it would give those who like Obama but consider him a little half-baked to vote against him guiltlessly while he becomes fully baked. (Imagine the Q&A when Sen. Obama announces his second presidential run in 2011: "Well, Brian, I think, looking back, there is something to be said for the idea that I will be a better president now than frankly I would have been four years ago. Experience, if you allow it, is still the best of all teachers.") More, it would allow Mr. McCain to say he means to face the tough problems ahead with a uniquely bipartisan attitude and without having to care a fig for re-election. That itself would give him a new power, one that would make up for the lost juice of lame duckdom. It would also serve to separate him from the hyperpolitical operating styles of the Clinton-Bush years, from the constant campaign.  
Peggy Noonan, "They're Paying Attention Now," The Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2008 ---

The Obama campaign could get marching orders to the Texans registered with MyBO with minimal effort. The MyBO databases could slice and dice lists of volunteers by geographic micro­region and pair people with appropriate tasks, including prepping nearby voters on caucus procedure. "You could go online and download the names, addresses, and phone numbers of 100 people in your neighborhood to get out and vote--or the 40 people on your block who were undecided," Trippi says. "'Here is the leaflet: print it out and get it to them.' It was you, at your computer, in your house, printing and downloading. They did it all very well." Clinton won the Texas primary vote 51 to 47 percent. But Obama's ­people, following their MyBO playbook, so overwhelmed the chaotic, crowded caucuses that he scored an overall victory in the Texas delegate count, 99 to 94. His showing nearly canceled out ­Clinton's win that day in Ohio. Clinton lost her last major opportunity to stop the Obama juggernaut. "In 1992, Carville said, 'It's the economy, stupid,'" Trippi says, recalling the exhortation of Bill Clinton's campaign manager, James Carville. "This year, it was the network, stupid!"
David Talbot, "How Obama Really Did It:  The social-networking strategy that took an obscure senator to the doors of the White House," MIT's Technology Review, September/October 2008 --- 
Jensen Comment
I think he also did it because the competition from both political parties is so lousy. The ordeal of becoming President of the U.S. is now so lengthy, physically exhausting, mentally draining, family destructive, centered on fund raising, media hostile, and superficial on issues that the most experienced and talented men and women for the job refuse to become candidates. The run for the presidency is more about style than substance; more about Hollywood than Harvard (not that Ivy League professors are best-suited for the presidency). It's possible that on occasion the best candidates for the job are Vice Presidential nominees who are chosen to enter the race late in the process. But even here the best intellectual candidates are turned off by prospects of living from four to eight years in a no-possible-winner life of hostility and hate. Yeah, outright hate! Each four years since the Harry Truman the atmosphere of heat and hate just keeps rising (with the possible exception of the Eisenhower presidency where there was lots of time for golf) and not much effort required to win the election. Senator Obama will probably be our next President of the U.S.A. But in the words of Bette Davis "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy (ride) ." ---

Much of the problem is the Bush budget deficits that will be inherited by the next U.S. President. Thus far neither candidate has any realistic proposal to how to keep them from continuing to grow based upon more and more government borrowing to meet out-of-control spending bills passed an irresponsible Congress (are there any responsible statesmen and stateswomen left?).

The Social Security Program is now bringing in surpluses, but our reckless Congress is helping to bankrupt this program by spending these surpluses on most everything except Social Security and Medicare. Congress takes the surpluses and replaces them with IOUs to be paid by our grandchildren.

"Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy (ride) ." ---
But with the White House Office of Management and Budget now forecasting a deficit of $389 billion, or 2.7% of GDP, for the fiscal year ending in September, and $482 billion, 3.3% of GDP, for FY 2009, it's important to note a couple of caveats. It's not that the $482 billion is in any meaningful sense a "record," as the headline on most news accounts went. As a percentage of GDP, deficits were much bigger during the Reagan and Bush 41 administrations (not to mention World War II). But the new deficit projections do call into question the argument that Bush 43 deficit spending has been below average. And, more important, they understate the real deficit.

Time Magazine, July 30. 2008 ---

"Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy (ride) ." ---
"The hard road ahead," The Economist, Aug 21, 2008 --- 

When it comes to the issues, it is hardly surprising that The Economist is less impressed. Mr Obama’s tilt towards protectionism during the primary campaign was both wrong and dangerous. So was his insistence on denying funds to the “surge” that has worked so well (if belatedly) in Iraq, and his determination to withdraw troops from the conflict according to a rigid timetable. We are nervous about his incentive-destroying willingness to raise taxes sharply on the well-off, and of the cost implications of many of his policies. But we recognise that his positions have evolved as the campaign has moved from the primary stage, where politicians have to outdo each other in their appeal to their party faithful, to the general election. Were he to become president, they would move further to the centre again. And policies are by no means the whole story of an American election: character and leadership matter greatly, too. Mr Obama is an impressive nominee with the potential to be a fine president.

Democratic doubts

But the road to the White House is still a hard one. Even though the Republican brand is as contaminated as a Soviet-era reactor, and 80% of Americans think the country is on the wrong track, Mr Obama is barely ahead of his septuagenarian Republican rival. He is less popular than his party as a whole: in “generic” polling, people prefer Democrats to Republicans by around 12 points, but Mr Obama is ahead of John McCain by an average of only around 45% to 43%. One poll this week had Mr McCain five points ahead. The presidential debates, which will start next month, usually sway a lot of voters. Mr Obama is generally held to have lost his only encounter so far with Mr McCain, in back-to-back interviews with Rick Warren, an evangelical pastor, on August 16th. In the battleground states which will determine the result, Mr McCain has steadily been gaining ground; if the polls are borne out, the result, as in 2000 and 2004, will be nerve-janglingly close.

Many Americans, including a dangerously large number of Democrats, still have their doubts about Mr Obama. Some see him as too young and inexperienced for a dangerous world; others find him unattractively self-regarding and aloof; still others question his patriotism. Many resent his apparent flip-flopping on important issues, like gun-control and whether or not to talk to Iran and Syria, as well as less important ones, like whether to wear a flag pin. His cynical breaking of a promise to be bound by federal campaign-finance limits was shabby by any standards. Perhaps the most damning criticism of him is that he has never exhibited political courage by daring to take on any of his party’s powerful interests, as his rival, John McCain, has done over many issues, including global warming, campaign-finance reform, immigration and torture.

Yes, he still can

From the moment of his coronation in Denver, Mr Obama will have 68 days to allay these doubts. There is not much he can do about his thin résumé or his lack of foreign-policy and security expertise, though he can mitigate the latter somewhat with an astute choice of running mate. And it is a bit late now for principled stands in the Senate. Mr Obama could certainly tone down the triumphalism: opting to make his acceptance speech not in the convention hall but in a 75,000-seater sports stadium seems like another mistake, akin to his hubristic rock-star’s tour of Europe. He needs to be a lot clearer and firmer about how he will deal with America’s foes and rivals: his first instinct when Russia invaded Georgia was to waffle. Acknowledging that the Iraq surge, which he tried to block, has worked would also be a sign of tough-mindedness.

Most of all, he needs to spend those 68 days showing that he understands, and can connect with, ordinary Americans. The economy ought to be the Democrats’ trump card, just as security tends to be the Republicans’. But some of the most surprising recent polls show that Mr Obama is rated lower by voters on how he would handle the economy than is Mr McCain, who has admitted that he doesn’t know much about the subject. That may be because Mr Obama often sounds curiously disconnected from the troubles of anyone except America’s very poorest. Mrs Clinton was much better at empathising with middle America, and Mr Obama needs to show he has learnt from her.

That could also help heal the wounds of the Democratic Party, which, after the bitter contest and Mr Obama’s narrow victory, are still raw. If the Democrats remain divided they will lose the presidency. Were that to happen, after Iraq, Katrina and an economic crisis, they might well want to consider an alternative line of work.

Continued in article

"Obama's Geek Economist Austan Goolsbee is a new breed of economic advisor for a new kind of presidential candidate," by Mark Williams, MIT's Technology Review, September/October 2008 ---
You can read more about Austan Goolsbee at

Goolsbee's academic research focuses on the Internet, the new economy, government policy, and taxes. He currently teaches a class on economics and policy in the telecom, media and technology industries. He's part of a new wave called "new social economics". Along with Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics, he and others focus on human activity in natural settings and find economic explanations for how people behave.

In April 2006, Goolsbee began writing for the Economic Scene column in the New York Times. He has also appeared in their Economic View column. Before that he wrote the Dismal Science column for, for which he won the 2006 Peter Lisagor Award for Exemplary Journalism. He has many published papers in various peer-reviewed journals.[


Iran continues to finance, train, arm, and support Shia terror groups in Iraq. The Qods Force, via its Ramazan Corps command operating in eastern Iran, remains active in subverting the Iraqi government and attacking US and Coalition forces. The latest report on Iran's activities inside Iraq from The Associated Press is sourced from an anonymous senior US intelligence official. Elements from the AP report matches prior assessments from Iraqi intelligence officials as well as reports here at The Long War Journal and other publications. Qods Force and Hezbollah currently run training camps for the "Special Groups" as well as the Hezbollah Brigades in at least four locations inside Iran, at Qom, Tehran, Ahvaz, and Mashhad, the senior military officer told the AP. The camps are co-run by Iran's Qods Force and Hezbollah, Iran's proxy in Lebanon.
Bill Roggio, The Long War Journal, August 15, 2008 ---

Siddiqui, 36, is a Pakistani mother of three, an alumna of MIT, and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Brandeis University. She is also accused of working for Al-Qaeda and was charged last week in New York City with attempting to kill American soldiers. Her arrest serves to remind how invisibly most Islamist infiltration proceeds. In particular, an estimated forty Al-Qaeda sympathizers or operatives have sought to penetrate U.S. intelligence agencies.
Daniel Pipes, "The West's Islamist Infiltrators, Jewish World Review, August 12, 2008 ---

I have often wondered why some of the best thinkers of our time refuse to believe in human progress. After all, there was a time when tens of thousands of ordinary citizens flocked to the gates of the Roman Coliseum to enjoy the sight of wild beasts tearing human beings to pieces. Today, such a sight would evoke revulsion and disbelief. Of course, inhumanity still exists, but it is no longer laudable or fashionable in the public sphere. With the exception of exhibition killings by jihadist recruiters, cruelty is no longer a catalyst of mass arousal. Even the Nazis tried to hide their deeds from the eyes of history. Be it for fear or shame, the trend is clear: The norms of civilized society are moving forward, and it is those norms, not their exceptions, that shape the minds of our youngsters and justify our hopes for a better world. All this was true until about three weeks ago, when the royal procession of Samir Kuntar brought barbarism back to the public square. Samir Kuntar is the killer who smashed the head of a 4-year-old girl with his rifle in 1979 after killing her father before her eyes. He was convicted, sentenced to 542 years in prison, and never expressed any remorse. He was released by Israel on July 26 in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, who were kidnapped by Hezbollah in 2006. As anticipated, Hezbollah's mass celebration in Beirut, in the presence of its leader Hassan Nasrallah, evoked a chivalrous scene from a fairy tale gone awry. One by one, the whole Lebanese leadership stepped up to "brother Kuntar" to shake the hand and kiss the cheeks of that arch-symbol of barbarity. The focus of my attention naturally turned to Al Jazeera because, with its outreach of 50 million to 100 million viewers from Morocco to the Persian Gulf, this pan-Arab satellite channel is considered the conscience and future of the Arab world. A chill went down my spine when British-accented announcers, who introduced Al Jazeera's English channel correspondent Rula Amin, translated the wisdom of Kuntar's words from the original Arabic. Imagine a voice cast in a perfect Oxford accent articulating in unmistaken empathy: "He has returned to a hero's welcome . . . After 29 years in [an] Israeli prison, Samir Kuntar spent his first day of freedom vowing to continue to fight against Israel. He says he hopes to see the enemy again very soon."
Judea Pearl, "Why Al Jazeera Owes an Apology," The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2008; Page A11 ---

I have been researching, documenting and studying thousands upon thousands of Obama's campaign donations for the past month. Egregious abuse was immediately evident and I published the results of my ongoing investigation. Each subsequent post built a more damning case against Obama's illegal contribution activity. The media took little notice of what I was substantiating. I went so far as to upload the documents so that anyone could do their own research. I asked readers to download the documents and a number of folks pitched in.
Pamela Geller
, "Obama's Foreign Donors: The media averts its eyes," American Thinker, August 14, 2008 ---

Nonetheless, the moment that changed Ms Bashir’s life, when she was gang-raped over several days by soldiers from the Sudanese army, provides a terrible insight into the conflict. Her description is powerful, harrowing and brave. It forms the key passage of the book. The Sudanese government denies that the army uses rape as a routine weapon of war; it has gone to great lengths to stop any accounts of it coming out of Darfur, gagging aid workers and limiting locals’ access to journalists. Most Sudanese Arabs tend to be in denial about the conflict in general, and especially about the use of rape by their own soldiers. Ms Bashir’s account will help to provide vital testimony—if any locals dare read it. The book’s description of the texture of village life will also help people to understand the subtleties that usually escape Western headlines about Darfur. The description of playground rivalries between the “African” girls and the “Arab” girls captures the racism and snobbery that underlie the conflict. Such first-hand accounts can do more than any number of speeches and statistics to illuminate a bafflingly complex conflict about which most foreigners would rather forget.
"Lifting the Veil," The Economist, August 16, 2008, Page 80 ---
This is a review of Tears in the Desert:  One Woman's True Story of Surviving the Horrors of Darfur, by Halima Bashir and Damien Lewis (Hodder & Stroughton, 2008)

The GOP is the White Party
Howard Dean, Chair of the Democratic Party (video), Breitbart, August 15, 2008 ---

Whoa There Howard
"Dean Scream II, or III or IV…." by Bob Parks, Black and Right, August 16, 2008 ---

Some people just don't know when to keep their big mouths shut.

Again, for some of you here this is review but in an attempt to tarnish the Republican Party with the traditional racism charge, DNC Chairman Howard Dean has provided yet another public service for those paying attention.

As Democrats prepare to nominate Sen. Barack Obama to be the first black president…

Hold on right there. Can't it that go. Weren't the Democrats in almost total agreement that a deeply-flawed white man (Bill Clinton) was "the first black president"?

… the Democratic National Committee and its chairman, Howard Dean, have whitewashed the party's horrific and lengthy record of racism. The omission is in the section of the DNC Web site that describes the party's history. The missing history raises the obvious question of whether the Democrats, unable or simply unwilling to put their party on record as taking direct responsibility for one of the worst racial crimes of the ages, will be able to run a campaign free of the racial animosities it has regularly brought both to American presidential campaigns and American political and social life in general.

Well, things haven't been running smoothly for race-queasy Democrats thus far.

The sad thing is that most of the publicly-educated in our country know nothing about the history of the Democrat Party, and their present-day attempts to rewrite their past sins while making their in-agreement followers look the fool.

The DNC Web site section labeled "Party History," linked here, is in fact scrubbed clean of the not-so-little dirty secret that fueled Democrats' political successes for over a century and a half and made American life a hell on earth for black Americans. Literally, the DNC official history, which begins with the creation of the party in 1800, gets to the creation of the DNC itself in 1848 and then–poof!–the next sentence says: "As the 19th Century came to a close, the American electorate changed more and more rapidly." It quickly heads into a riff on poor immigrants coming to America.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
On August 24, 2008 our liberal hero Larry King interviewed the idiot-comedian Bill Maher on CNN. Maher asserted that America was still racist because only (Maher's so-called "fact") 30% of the whites will vote for Obama. A little later he added that he hoped 100% of the blacks would vote for Obama but that this would not be racist with blacks voting as a block. He also claimed Senator Lieberman was a Republican in "Democratic Party clothing." Obviously he's not looked at Lieberman's voting record on social program spending, because Lieberman tilts to the left of Ted Kennedy on social program spending. By the way, did you ever see Larry King's picture on Wikipedia? A conservative must've chosen the picture ---

The math backs up his (Obama's) analysis — if he can deliver the turnout he promises. In Georgia, the GOP presidential nominee's average margin of victory in the past four elections was 216,000 votes. If 30% more voting-age blacks go to the polls in November than the four-year average — with all else equal, and Obama capturing all of those votes — he would win the state by 84,000 ballots. Should 90% of those voters go for Obama, a figure he achieved among blacks in some primaries this year, he would still have enough to win the state and its 15 electoral votes.
USA Today, July 16, 2008 ---

Turning to America, so far the decline in its total trade deficit has been modest, because of the higher cost of oil imports. But the underlying improvement is more impressive. Excluding oil, the trade deficit has fallen by almost one-quarter since 2006. At the same time as exports have soared, real imports fell by 2% in the year to the second quarter, dragged down by weak domestic demand. If the recent drop in oil prices is sustained, the total trade deficit will shrink more rapidly in the second half of this year than it did in the first half. Meanwhile, America’s overall current-account deficit has fallen to around 5% of GDP from a peak of 6.2% in the third quarter of 2006. Merrill Lynch forecast that it could drop to around 3.5% of GDP in 2009. Bilaterally, it is the same story: America’s exports to China were 20% higher in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2007, while its imports from China were up only 4%. However, America’s import bill for goods from China is so huge—four times that of exports—that the rising exports have not dented America’s overall trade deficit with China. The changing patterns, buried beneath the headline figures, are very hard to spot.
"Rebalancing act," The Economist, August 16, 2008, Page 67 ---

The inspector general’s report pegged the rate of improper payments for medical equipment at 31.5 percent, an astonishingly high proportion that implies improper spending of some $2.8 billion, four times what Medicare had claimed. Congressional committees will need to sort out how much of this problem is sloppy documentation and how much reflects payment for medical services that should never have been provided and often weren’t. Congress must also recognize its own failure to give Medicare an important tool to combat fraud and waste. It postponed a new competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment that would require a more intense look at the qualifications and integrity of the suppliers. With Medicare expenditures soaring, there is no room for any more waste, fraud or complacency.
"Medicare’s Claims," The New York Times, August 22, 2008 ---

De Facto Legalization of Most Male and Female Prostitution (even children)  in San Francisco
"Pimps, Pedophiles: Welcome to S.F." by Debra J. Saunders, Townhall, August 17, 2008 ---,_pedophiles_welcome_to_sf?page=full&comments=true 

A quick reading of the measure that will go before San Francisco voters in November to decriminalize prostitution easily could leave you with the misimpression that the measure is an exercise in fairness that demands that prosecutors go after men who abuse prostitutes and implement policies "to reduce institutional violence and discrimination against prostitutes." A careful reading of the initiative, "Enforcement of Laws Related to Prostitution and Sex Workers," however, shows a measure that shields child prostitution and traffickers of human beings.

"If I had just heard from the proponents, I would probably vote for it myself," said the Rev. Glenda Hope, whose San Francisco Network Ministries helped found the Tenderloin AIDS Resource, in the mistaken belief the measure is meant "to protect women." But as the executive director of SafeHouse, a residential center that helps women get off the streets, Hope knows too much.

Hope knows that the average age of entry into prostitution is 12 to 14. The office of San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, who opposes the initiative, has encountered prostituted children as young as 9 years old.

Yet the San Francisco ballot measure completely ignores the prostitution of children. The measure simply states, "Law enforcement agencies shall not allocate any resources for the investigation and prosecution of prostitutes for prostitution." Astonishingly, there's no exemption that encourages police to enforce the law for minors.

If the measure passes, the city is likely to become an international haven for pimps who peddle girls and boys, and perverts seeking sex with minors.

And where does that leave Bay Area youth? "They want new and young," Jasmine, a former teen prostitute from Oakland who now volunteers for the nonprofit SAGE Project, which fights sexual exploitation, explained to me.

The life, which she entered at age 14, was "like a drug." She felt wanted. She brought in $4,000 to $5,000 a week. Sure, she knew girls who were selling themselves against their will. But she could buy things. "I was supposedly involved in a relationship" -- one that ended when police prosecuted her pimp.

The other big problem: The measure prohibits city law enforcement from applying for grants to prosecute human traffickers. That's right, this measure gives a free pass to the human sex-slave trade -- in a city that is a central stop for international sex-trade rings.

A proponent of the measure told Fox News that she believes that it will pass with 75 percent of the vote because the city is "sex-positive."

The SAGE Project's Allen Wilson fears that the measure may prevail because the city has no shortage of rootless residents who "will vote for this because they think it's cool." For them, San Francisco is "one big sandbox."

Let me be clear. I don't want city cops wasting their time prosecuting workers at the discreet bordello that hires healthy adult prostitutes who get regular medical checkups. I would rather see law enforcement focus on serious crimes.

But there is nothing broad-minded about looking the other way when 14-year-old girls and boys sell themselves on the street and massage parlors are staffed by women who are being held against their will. These are not consenting adults.

The measure takes a tone that suggests it will protect women by demanding that San Francisco law enforcement prosecute "coercion, extortion, battery, rape and violent crimes, regardless of the victim's status as a sex worker."

Of course, state law already requires that. More to the point, battery, rape, assault and even murder are crimes that befall prostitutes because they work in an inherently dangerous field bankrolled largely by men who like to demean women and girls.

Violence and pain are the inevitable outcome for those steeped in this dehumanizing way of life. Young women wooed into the life quickly age to the point where they cannot net the high-incomes their pimps demand. They become addicted to drugs. They learn to commit new crimes. Until the day they find they are disposable.

Or as Wilson noted, "We treat animals better."

So do not tell Jasmine that if San Francisco decriminalizes prostitution, it will do so because the city cares about prostitutes. This measure really is a gift, not so much to so-called sex workers, as to pimps, pedophiles and human traffickers. As Jasmine sees it, if the ballot initiative passes, "That's basically saying the city does not care."

"US gets ready to blow its economy away," by Christopher Booker, London Telegraph, August 17, 2008 ---

After years when America was vilified for not taking "global warming' seriously, it was a shock to find how "environmentalism" is now threatening to transform what is still the largest and richest economy in the world.

Both candidates favour a version of the proposed "cap and trade" scheme to slash US greenhouse gas emissions to 63 per cent below 2005 levels, at an estimated cost by 2030 of more than $600 billion a year - representing a cumulative loss to the US economy, within 22 years, of $4.8 trillion.

Although America is still dependent on coal for around half its electricity, with reserves estimated as likely to last 200 years, state after state is proposing to ban new coal-fired power stations.

Environmental groups, with powerful political support, are now lobbying equally fiercely against natural gas or any new nuclear power plants.

Most dramatic of all are the implications of a Supreme Court judgment in the case of Massachussets v the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which ruled by a single vote that the EPA must treat any greenhouse gases as "pollution", to be regulated under America's Clean Air Act.

The EPA is thus mandated to impose drastic new limits on emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases from pretty well any source, not just industry and transport but schools, hospitals, even lawn mowers.

The implications are so immense for almost every sector of the US economy that government departments -commerce, agriculture, energy and others - have been queuing up to protest, arguing that the effects of such regulation would be so damaging that it should be regarded as unthinkable.

But politicians of both parties, led by the two men vying for the presidency, are so carried away in the rush to appear "green" that it seems there is no longer any national voice powerful enough to question the sanity of such measures.

All the fashionable talk is of how fossil-fuels must be replaced by massively subsidised sources of "renewable" energy, such as vast arrays of solar panels, even though a recent study showed that a kilowatt hour of solar-generated electricity costs between 25 and 30 cents, compared with 6 cents for power generated from coal and 9 cents for that produced by natural gas.

What is terrifying is the extent to which America's leading politicians seem oblivious to the economic realities of what they are proposing. The readiness of Messrs McCain and Obama to posture in front of pictures of virtually useless wind turbines symbolises that attitude perfectly.

Here, in the EU we are only too sadly familiar with politicians floating off into cloudcuckooland over our future energy policy, with the virtual certainty that before many years this may leave us with a colossal shortfall in our electricity supplies.

But "the lights going out all over Europe" is one thing: if they go out in the richest economy in the world - while China cheerfully continues to build one new coal-fired power station a week - we may look back on the US presidential election of 2008 as a time when history really did reach a watershed; the moment when the nations of the West finally signed up to the most bizarre suicide note the world has ever seen.

Continued in article


The Social Security Program is now bringing in surpluses, but our reckless Congress is helping to bankrupt this program by spending these surpluses on most everything except Social Security and Medicare. Congress takes the surpluses and replaces them with IOUs to be paid by our grandchildren.

"Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy (ride) ." ---
But with the White House Office of Management and Budget now forecasting a deficit of $389 billion, or 2.7% of GDP, for the fiscal year ending in September, and $482 billion, 3.3% of GDP, for FY 2009, it's important to note a couple of caveats. It's not that the $482 billion is in any meaningful sense a "record," as the headline on most news accounts went. As a percentage of GDP, deficits were much bigger during the Reagan and Bush 41 administrations (not to mention World War II). But the new deficit projections do call into question the argument that Bush 43 deficit spending has been below average. And, more important, they understate the real deficit.

Time Magazine, July 30. 2008 ---

'If I were designing a system from scratch, I would probably go ahead with a single-payer system," Barack Obama told an audience in Albuquerque on Monday. He was lauding the idea of a health-care market -- or nonmarket -- entirely run by the government. Most liberals support single payer, aka "Medicare for All," because it would eliminate the profit motive, which by their lights is the reason Americans are uninsured. The Democratic Presidential candidate takes a more moderate campaign line, though we suppose just about everything is "moderate" compared to a total government takeover. While preferring that option in theory, Mr. Obama continued, his health-care plan is designed to "build up the system we got," and over time, "we may . . . decide that there are other ways for us to provide care more effectively."
"Obama's Health-Care Tipoff ," The Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2008 ---
Jensen Comment
Hillary Clinton proposes moving much more quickly to socialized medicine than Obama.

The Canadian Consumer Tax Index, 2007, shows that even though the income of the average Canadian family has increased significantly since 1961, their total tax bill has increased at a much higher rate. In 1961, the average Canadian family earned an income of $5,000 and paid $1,675 in total taxes - 33.5 per cent of its income. In 2006, the average Canadian family earned an income of $63,001 and paid total taxes equaling $28,311 - 44.9 per cent of its income . . . "The tax burden we face is made up of much more than just income tax. When you add up all the taxes we have to pay to all levels of government, the average Canadian family is paying more of its income to governments in the form of taxes than they spend feeding, clothing and housing themselves," said Niels Veldhuis, the study's co-author and Director of the Centre for Tax Studies with the Fraser Institute . . . Since 1961, the total tax bill for the average Canadian family has increased 1,590 per cent. By comparison, the cost of housing has increased 1,019 per cent, the cost of food 487 per cent and the cost of clothing has increased 447 per cent since 1961.
The Fraser Institute ---

"We Can't Tax Our Way Out of the Entitlement Crisis," by R. Glenn Hubbard, The Wall Street Journal,August 21, 2008; Page A13 --- 

We can also secure a firm financial footing for Social Security (and Medicare) without choking off economic growth or curtailing our flexibility to pursue other spending priorities. Three actions are essential: (1) reduce entitlement spending growth through some form of means testing; (2) eliminate all nonessential spending in the rest of the budget; and (3) adopt policies that promote economic growth. This 180-degree difference from Mr. Obama's fiscal plan forms the basis of Sen. McCain's priorities for spending, taxes and health care.

The problem with Mr. Obama's fiscal plans is not that that they lack vision. On the contrary, the vision is plain enough: a larger welfare state paid for by higher taxes. The problem is not even that they imply change. The problem is that his plans are statist.

While the candidate is sending a fiscal "Ich bin ein Berliner" message to Americans, European critics of his call for greater spending on defense are the canary in the coal mine for what lies ahead with his vision for the United States.

Professor R. Glenn Hubbard is Dean of the College of Business at Columbia University and a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisors.

Bob Jensen's threads on the "Entitlement Crisis" are at


What former Andersen partner, who watched the Andersen accounting firm implode alongside its client Enron, has been traveling for years around the United States warning that the United States economy will implode unless we totally come to our senses?
David Walker was the top accountant, Controller General, of the United States Government.
He was a featured plenary speaker a few years back at an annual meeting of the American Accounting Association.
See his "State of the Profession of Accountancy" piece in the October 2005 edition of the Journal of Accountancy.
Also see

Videos About Off-Balance-Sheet Financing to an Unimaginable Degree
Truth in Accounting or Lack Thereof in the Federal Government (Former Congressman Chocola) --- 
Part 2 (unfunded liabilities of $55 trillion plus) ---
Part 3 (this is a non-partisan problem being ignored in election promises) ---

Watch the Video of the non-sustainability of the U.S. economy (CBS Sixty Minutes TV Show Video) --- 
Also see "US Government Immorality Will Lead to Bankruptcy" in the CBS interview with David Walker ---
Also at Dirty Little Secret About Universal Health Care (David Walker) ---


I.O.U.S.A.:  A Fact-Filled Documentary That Makes the Sicko's Sicko Look Sicko
"Another Inconvenient Truth," The Economist, August 16, 2008, pp 69-69 ---

AMERICA’S infamous debt clock, near New York’s Times Square, was switched off in 2000 after the national burden started to fall thanks to several years of Clinton-era budget restraint. However, it was reactivated two years later as the politically motivated urge to splurge once again took over. The debt has since swollen to $9.5 trillion, with the value of unfunded public promises (if you include entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare) nudging $53 trillion—or $175,000 for every American—and rising. On current trends, these will amount to some 240% of GDP by 2040, up from a just-about-manageable 65% today.

David Walker, who until recently ran the Government Accountability Office, has made it his mission to get the nation to acknowledge and treat this “fiscal cancer”. His efforts form the core of a new documentary, “I.O.U.S.A.”, out on August 21st. The message is simple enough: America’s financial condition is a lot worse than advertised, and dumping it on future generations would be not only economically reckless but also immoral.

The biggest deficit of all, the film contends, is in leadership: politicians continue to duck hard choices. It hints at dark consequences. As America has become more reliant on foreign lenders, it warns, so it has become more vulnerable to “financial warfare”, of the sort America itself threatened to wage on Britain, a big debtor, during the Suez crisis. Warren Buffett, America’s investor-in-chief, pops up to warn of potential political instability.

The film is part of a broader effort to popularise the issue. In 2005 Mr Walker set off on a “fiscal wake-up tour” of town halls; sparsely attended at first, it now attracts hundreds to each meeting (though some may be turned off by the giant pie chart strapped to the side of his tour van). The young are being drawn in too, even forming campaign groups; Concerned Youth of America’s activists “crusade against our leveraged future” wearing prison suits. Mr Walker is talking to MTV, a music broadcaster, about a tie-up. His profile has been lifted by a segment on CBS’s “60 Minutes” and an appearance on “The Colbert Report”, a satirical TV show, which dubbed him the “Taxes Ranger”.

Promisingly, the new film was well received at the Sundance Film Festival. Some even wonder if it might do for the economy what Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” did for the environment—perhaps with this comparison in mind, Mr. Walker and his supporters talk of a “red-ink tsunami” and bulging “fiscal levees”. But, unlike the former vice-president, he is no heavy-hitter. And, even jazzed up with fancy graphics, punchy one-liners and a splash of humour, courtesy of Steve Martin, tales of fiscal folly are an acquired taste. Still, “I.O.U.S.A” is a bold attempt to highlight a potentially huge problem. “The Dark Knight” it may not be, but for those who care about economic reality as much as cinematic fantasy, it might just be the scariest release of the summer.

Bob Jensen's threads about how entitlements are leading the United States to economic destruction are at

"Is America in Decline?" by Nobel Laureate GaryBecker, The Becker-Posner Blog, August 3, 2008 --- 

Articles about whether America is in decline is a cyclical industry that rises and falls over about a twenty-year cycle. The previous cycle started with Paul Kennedy's bestseller of 1986 "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers", and was vigorously discussed during the next decade. It was finally dismissed after starting in the early years of the Reagan presidency there was more than twenty-five years of vigorous growth in GDP-much faster than in Western Europe- declines in unemployment to very low levels, and the complete absence of any inflationary pressure.

This gloom and doom industry has begun to grow again during the past few years. Kennedy had attributed his projected decline of the United States to its role as the world's policeman, and the resulting spending on defense and military manpower and equipment, Yet, defense spending did not account for more than six percent of GDP, and some of the military spending went for military R&D and training that had carryover to civilian products and services, such as the development of the Internet, and the training of pilots. The new pessimists continue to blame America's role as policeman, and in particular its protracted involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also see possible doom in the debacle in the US housing market, the high price of oil, and the current economic slowdown in income growth, and declines in employment. Much emphasis too is placed on the growth of China and India, and also Brazil, and the shift of the world's attention toward these large rapidly developing nations. Some members of the doom school claim in addition that the United States is getting "old", like old Europe, and is suffering from ailments that afflict old nations.

Readers of our blog will realize that I generally do not subscribe to this gloom and doom school concerning America. I do agree that being the world's policeman does take resources that could be producing civilian output, and countries in Europe and elsewhere free ride off of America's efforts, but when done right this policeman's role also makes the world a safer place in the future. However, the resources spent on military manpower and equipment is not large enough to have a serious effect on the growth of US civilian output. The economy and housing market will before long recover from their current difficulties. The rapid expansion of China, India, and a few other large nations does mean that the share of world GDP produced by the United States has begun to decline, and is likely to continue to decline over the next decade and longer. After all, these two huge nations, along with Brazil, comprise over forty percent of the world's population, so their rapid growth must lead to a decline in America's share of world GDP. But the success of other nations should not be taken per se an indication that America is in decline.

Moreover, and on the whole, the growth of these other nations will help US growth prospects. The United States has been for several decades the world's leader in technological innovation, so that other nations have been able to free ride to some extent over US investments in new ideas and technologies. With the rapid growth of China and others, they too will begin to make considerable innovations, and the US will now be able to take advantage of their technological advances. In other words, in the future, America will become more of an importer as well as continuing to be an exporter of new ideas and innovations.

The expansion of exports from China and other poorer nations has not benefited all nations, especially those that compete with exports of similar products. However, it has greatly benefited the US and other developed countries because the rich countries can import amazingly cheap consumer goods, and these developing countries provide a market for the industrial goods and advanced services of richer nations. As the rapidly developing countries get richer, the mix of their products and services will change, and some of them will compete directly with those of richer nations. Yet the evidence is strong that trade is stronger in general between countries of similar levels rather than different levels of economic development, but is mutually beneficial to both sides. I see no reason why this should not continue as China's, India's, and Brazil's economic development become much closer to that of the US, Japan, and Western Europe.

Another argument made by the America is declining camp is that as countries continue to get richer, individuals lose their motivation and begin to sharply cut their hours of work and ambitions regarding further accumulation of wealth and income. In a celebrated article published in 1931 called, "Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren", the great economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that as incomes continued to grow, then adults in Europe and the United States would by the year 2030 be working about 15 hours per week, and they would spent most of their time in leisure pursuits. Keynes’ predictions about the long-term rates of growth of income were surprisingly quite accurate, despite the worldwide depression then in effect, but his predictions about how people would spend their growing wealth were way off the mark. He did not appreciate that higher hourly earnings could lead people to work more hours even though their incomes were higher, and that the continuing development of new products, such as computers and television, would increase people's desire for more spending power. These effects were magnified by the interest in relative economic position since that induces men and women to strive for higher incomes in order to move ahead of their peers (on all this, see the article by Luis Rayo and me "Why Keynes Underestimated Consumption and Overestimated Leisure for the Long Run", in the recent collection of essays, "Revisiting Keynes".

I am an optimist about the future prospects of America; that is, I believe the individuality, entrepreneurship, and drive in this country will continue to propel the economy and society forward at a good pace. The biggest risk to America's continuing success lies not in the considerations already discussed, but in the expansion of government regulations and controls that can throttle the dynamic energies of its competitive private sector. Clearly, various forms of government spending and regulation, such as spending on police and the military, on schools and other infrastructure, are crucial to any prosperous society. However, the tendency during the past half-century has been to go further than is warranted as different interest groups look to the government for help. Governments now often decide what consumer goods can be produced (see our blog discussion last week), subsidize housing and other goods, and regulate who can be fired and hired (especially in many European countries but also increasingly in the US). Governments also are placing greater stress on equality as opposed to opportunity and efficiency, and pay for medical spending, provide retirement incomes, and often impose heavy taxes on persons who earn more than average.

So far, this expansion of the role of government has not been a crucial deterrent to entrepreneurship and private energies in the United States-a much greater expansion of government has had much more harmful effects in countries like Italy and France. Although I remain optimistic, I do fear that interest group pressures toward a much larger role of government in the United States may become much harder to resist in the future, and that this could eventually kill, or at least badly wound, the free market-entrepreneurial goose that has been laying the golden eggs.

"Is America in Decline?" by Richard Posner, The Becker-Posner Blog, August 3, 2008 --- 

I agree that there is no reason to expect the rate of growth of per capita income in the United States to decline in the foreseeable future. Of course it may decline; the future is uncertain; a particular uncertainty concerns the ever-present possibility of catastrophe (see my book Catastrophe: Risk and Response [2004]). Abrupt global warming, nuclear terrorism, a pandemic, an asteroid strike—all are possible events that could have cataclysmic effects on economic growth. Also, it is important to distinguish between monetary income and economic welfare. Increases in leisure and in the quality and variety of products and services can increase welfare without increasing per capita income; conversely, expenditures on security, while they may be cost-justified because of the risk of terrorist or other attacks, reduce consumption; and service deteriorations, for example due to congestion, can reduce welfare; but in neither case would the welfare loss show up in lower per capita incomes. A related example is wasteful expenditures on health care, all of which show up as income to providers, though it is possible that as much as a third of all expenditures on health care in the United States either yield no benefits in greater longevity or better health or exceed what it would cost to achieve the same benefits more cheaply (for example, by exercise and healthy eating).

I do not share Becker's pessimism about the rise of regulation. The deregulation and privatization movements have, since their beginning in the late 1970s, freed large parts of the economy from government control; income tax rates have fallen; unions have continued to decline; and the courts have become more conservative with respect to economic issues. (The Supreme Court's "liberal" Justices are liberal mainly concerning issues, such as abortion, capital punishment, and homosexual rights, that have little economic significance.) There will now be some re-regulation, but I would be surprised if it went far, given the political power of business.

Environmental regulation has increased, but it deals with real externalities. The increased regulation of labor markets, however, mainly as a result of antidiscrimination laws, is difficult to justify on economic grounds, though its economic effects may be largely offset by the decline of unions. Even after the recent increase in the federal minimum wage, that wage in real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) terms is no higher than it was in 1960.

Social conservatives believe that the nation is in free fall because of the decline of traditional social values, a decline reflected in low marriage and high divorce rates, a high rate of births out of wedlock, increases in pornography and vulgarity, the flaunting of homosexual relations, and abortion on demand. Becker does not cite any of these factors as inimical to economic growth; nor would I.

But there is a crucial ambiguity in the word "decline" when applied to a nation, and I will devote the rest of my comment to that. To begin with, the word might denote not a reduction in the rate of growth of per capita income but a reduction in that rate relative to the rate in other countries. Small differences in growth rates cumulate over time, like compound interest. Some nations will grow faster than the United States, but I do not see the growth rate of the United States dropping below the world average.

The idea of national decline might even refer to a decline in a nation's share of world income. The U.S. share peaked in 1951 at 28 percent, fell to 21 percent by 1975, and is about 20 percent today. The percentage will continue to fall as incomes in China, India, Brazil, and other rapidly developing countries rise. This almost certain "decline" has, however, no significance for the welfare of Americans--except insofar as a nation's share of world income is correlated with the nation’s political (and ultimately military) power--"geopolitical power." And when one speaks of a nation in "decline," it usually is to the nation's geopolitical power that one is referring.

Although China's military expenditures are far smaller than those of the United States, they are increasing more rapidly and eventually may surpass ours; and their increase is driving Japan to become once again a major world military power. Russia's military expenditures are increasing as well. India's too. And these are all countries that have potential enemies and so take military preparedness seriously (unlike Western Europe). What is more, the power of large countries such as the United States (and before that, notably, Great Britain) to coerce small ones has declined. When early in World War II Iraq and Iran began leaning toward the Axis powers, Britain (aided in Iran by the Soviet Union) quickly intervened and, more or less effortlessly, changed the governments in those countries. Britain of course for centuries controlled a vast empire with slight military forces. Tiny Holland ruled what is now Indonesia. France ruled what is now Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Japan ruled Korea and Taiwan. The Western nations, including the United States, are vastly less powerful than they were half a century ago. The U.S., despite a military budget roughly equal to that of all other nations combined, has its hands full trying to control two militarily third-rate countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, and is incapable of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

From a political rather than an economic standpoint, the United States today may be in a position comparable to that of the Roman Empire in the fourth century A.D. or the British Empire in the 1930s: the world's leading "empire" (in the sense not of having colonies, but of having the most influence over other countries), but, as an empire, in decline.

Size Matters ---
Otherwise entitled "Shift Happens"

Early History of Mathematics and Calculating in China
The best general source for ancient Chinese mathematics is Joseph Needham's Science and Civilisation in China, vol. 3. In this volume you will learn, for example, that the Chinese proved the Pythagorean Theorem at the very latest by the Later Han dynasty (25-221 CE). The proof comes from an ancient text called The Arithmetical Classic of the Gnomon and the Circular Paths of Heaven. The book has been translated by Christopher Cullen in his Astronomy and Mathematics in Ancient China: The Zhou Bi Suan Jing. Needham also discusses the abacus, or suanpan ("calculating plate").
Steve Field, Professor of Chinese, Trinity University, September 24, 2008
Jensen Comment
Later Han Dynasty ---
Pythagorean Theorem Theorem ---
Pythagorean Theorem (Gougu Theorem in China) History ---
Suanpan ---
This makes me respect Wikipedia even more!

Blan McBride's Journal of Backroom Accounting

W. Blan McBride earned a PhD in accounting years ago from the University of Illinois and was inspired earlier to study accounting history by Professor Flowers at the University of Alabama even though Blan's academic background is in engineering. Blan was on the accounting faculty at Florida State University and was instrumental in luring me (Bob Jensen) down to Tallahassee in 1978. However, shortly thereafter Blan left FSU and made millions via consulting, including such things as re-designing a flawed bullet proof vests for the U.S. Army. He made additional millions executing successful turnarounds of failing businesses.

Blan is the author or co-author of several books listed at

Total Business Planning (Modern accounting perspectives and practice) by E.James Burton and W.Blan McBride (Hardcover - Sep 21, 1988)


Throughout all of his consulting and CEO activities over the past few decades, however, Blan maintained his hobby of studying accounting history, especially accounting history in the ancient world. He enjoyed featuring accounting history when lecturing in such places as Rotary Club luncheons. Blan can be very entertaining to say the least. He can also be dead serious when you think he's still joking. For example, he showed me how the Spaniard killing of Inca accountants (what Blan calls wiping out the Inca hard drive) was instrumental in the destruction of the Inca Empire.


Recently he posed the following question to me (I didn't have a clue):

P.S.     Here’s your accounting history mystery for today:

 The Inca empire stretched 2500 miles down the coast of South America and into the Andes mountains in the interior.  Francisco Pizzaro landed in 1532 with fewer than 70 men and within fewer than 6 months had conquered the empire and begun shipping gold home. 

 Question:  How did he do it and what part did accounting play in this story?

 Hint: Who kept the records?


Blan and I began recently to correspond with respect to accounting history. I helped inspire him to commence writing accounting history papers once again, and he completed a working paper as the first paper in his proposed new “Journal of Backroom Accounting History.” He sent me a rough draft of the first commentary intended for his journal. The title is as follows:


Financial Planning and Internal Control Procedures

Employed in Early American Whorehouses

 Journal of Backroom Accounting

Volume 1, Issue 1



I encourage members of the American Accounting Association to submit comments on Blan's short "Red Light" commentary to the AAA Commons ---
Click on the menu item "Roles" and then click on "Teaching." Scroll down to the "Journal of Backroom Accounting," Volume 1, 2008.

You can also communicate directly with Blan via email at
I don't recommend getting him on the telephone, because you will never get him off. Blan's a talker!
If you meet him face-to-face, I recommend wearing high-topped boots, but I do love him dearly.
He makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.

Once again his "whorehouse" link is


Additional Accounting History Links

Bob Jensen's home page is at


FBI Corporate Fraud Chart in August 2008 ---

Controversial FAQs (at least some of them) about global warming ---

Bob Jensen's threads about global warming are at

To flee vice is the beginning of virtue, and to have got rid of folly is the beginning of wisdom.

Fifteenth Annual Emperor's Awards, Guest commentary by Poor Elijah (Peter Berger), The Irascible Professor, August 19, 2008 ---

"35 Innovators Under 35:  Technology Review presents its eighth annual list of leading young innovators," MIT's Technology Review, September/October 2008 --- 

Free Accounting Textbooks, Videos, Learning Games, and Tutorials

August 15, 2008 message from Glen L Gray [glen.gray@CSUN.EDU]

I was at a business luncheon today and I was asked a question that I hope you guys can help answer...

A woman, who manages a large portfolio for a large institution, has a nephew who is a senior in high school who wants to eventual get a job similar to his aunt (investment management). She told him he needs a good grounding in economics and accounting (in addition to finance). He will be doing an independent study in the fall and she thinks that econ and/or accounting would be a good topic for his independent study.

She asked me if I could recommend some books and/or online courses he could view/research/study. Nothing specifically came to mind. I know there has been some mention of free online courses on the AECM, but I don't recall the specifics.

So, with all that said, does any AECM members have some answers to her question regarding online courses and/or books that would provide an econ and/or accounting overview to a high school student?

Thanks in advance. I'll forward your responses to her.

Glen L. Gray, PhD, CPA
Accounting & Information Systems, COBAE
California State University, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff ST
Northridge, CA 91330-8372
818.677.2461 (messages)

August 15, 2008 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Glen,

 I have a listing of free online accounting textbooks, videos, and related tutorials at
Scroll through economics to get to the accounting items

At the high school level he may want to take a close look at
Bean Counter's Dave Marshall online book ---

More likely, however, he will prefer the free online videos such as those from Janice Cobb (good stuff).

He might also like some edutainment such as the accounting crossword puzzles ---

David Fordham's Jeopardy games for basic accounting and basic AIS are also linked for downloading at the above edutainment site.

And he could play David Albrecht's accounting Monopoly with his mom.

Bob Jensen

Beloit College Mindset List for the entering college (graduating) class of 2012 ---

For these students, Sammy Davis Jr., Jim Henson, Ryan White, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Freddy Krueger have always been dead.

  1. Harry Potter could be a classmate, playing on their Quidditch team.
  2. Since they were in diapers, karaoke machines have been annoying people at parties.
  3. They have always been looking for Carmen Sandiego.
  4. GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.
  5. Coke and Pepsi have always used recycled plastic bottles.
  6. Shampoo and conditioner have always been available in the same bottle.
  7. Gas stations have never fixed flats, but most serve cappuccino.
  8. Their parents may have dropped them in shock when they heard George Bush announce “tax revenue increases.”
  9. Electronic filing of tax returns has always been an option.
  10. Girls in head scarves have always been part of the school fashion scene.
  11. All have had a relative--or known about a friend's relative--who died comfortably at home with Hospice.
  12. As a precursor to “whatever,” they have recognized that some people “just don’t get it.”
  13. Universal Studios has always offered an alternative to Mickey in Orlando.
  14. Grandma has always had wheels on her walker.
  15. Martha Stewart Living has always been setting the style.
  16. Haagen-Dazs ice cream has always come in quarts.
  17. Club Med resorts have always been places to take the whole family.
  18. WWW has never stood for World Wide Wrestling.
  19. Films have never been X rated, only NC-17.
  20. The Warsaw Pact is as hazy for them as the League of Nations was for their parents.
  21. Students have always been "Rocking the Vote.”
  22. Clarence Thomas has always sat on the Supreme Court.
  23. Schools have always been concerned about multiculturalism.
  24. We have always known that “All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”
  25. There have always been gay rabbis.
  26. Wayne Newton has never had a mustache.
  27. College grads have always been able to Teach for America.
  28. IBM has never made typewriters.
  29. Roseanne Barr has never been invited to sing the National Anthem again.
  30. McDonald’s and Burger King have always used vegetable oil for cooking french fries.
  31. They have never been able to color a tree using a raw umber Crayola.
  32. There has always been Pearl Jam.
  33. The Tonight Show has always been hosted by Jay Leno and started at 11:35 EST.
  34. Pee-Wee has never been in his playhouse during the day.
  35. They never tasted Benefit Cereal with psyllium.
  36. They may have been given a Nintendo Game Boy to play with in the crib.
  37. Authorities have always been building a wall across the Mexican border.
  38. Lenin’s name has never been on a major city in Russia.
  39. Employers have always been able to do credit checks on employees.
  40. Balsamic vinegar has always been available in the U.S.
  41. Macaulay Culkin has always been Home Alone.
  42. Their parents may have watched The American Gladiators on TV the day they were born.
  43. Personal privacy has always been threatened.
  44. Caller ID has always been available on phones.
  45. Living wills have always been asked for at hospital check-ins.
  46. The Green Bay Packers (almost) always had the same starting quarterback. (and it wasn't Bart Starr)
  47. They never heard an attendant ask “Want me to check under the hood?”
  48. Iced tea has always come in cans and bottles.
  49. Soft drink refills have always been free.
  50. They have never known life without Seinfeld references from a show about “nothing.”
  51. Windows 3.0 operating system made IBM PCs user-friendly the year they were born.
  52. Muscovites have always been able to buy Big Macs.
  53. The Royal New Zealand Navy has never been permitted a daily ration of rum.
  54. The Hubble Space Telescope has always been eavesdropping on the heavens.
  55. 98.6 F or otherwise has always been confirmed in the ear.
  56. Michael Millken has always been a philanthropist promoting prostate cancer research.
  57. Off-shore oil drilling in the United States has always been prohibited.
  58. Radio stations have never been required to present both sides of public issues.
  59. There have always been charter schools.
  60. Students always had Goosebumps.

2008 Video ---  [hosted_mediasite_com] 

It's interesting to compare the above list with the 2002 list ---
For example, in the class of 2012 few if any know about the Persian Gulf War (1991) or Monica Lewinski. They were in kindergarten when she played on her hands and knees in the 1995 White House. They can't remember when stamps cost 32 cents.

A Harvard University Model for an Accounting History Commons

From the Scout Report on August 15, 2008

Nieman Watchdog
The Nieman Watchdog Journalism Project at Harvard University is concerned with helping "the press ask penetrating questions, critical questions, questions that matter, questions not yet asked about today's news." It's a very laudable mission, and for anyone concerned with these matters, their website will be one worth returning to numerous times. Along the top of the homepage, visitors can investigate sections that include "Ask This", "Showcase", "Commentary", and "Discussions". In the "Showcase" area, visitors can learn about their online tools for journalists (such as "The History Commons"), take a look at recent Nieman reports, and read some self- reflective works on the future of investigative reporting. "Ask This" raises a number of timely questions, including tax reform, debt problems, and nuclear weapons. Lastly, the "Blog" area offers up expert opinion and editorial pieces from Nieman staffers and affiliates, and the pieces here address everything from civil liberties to the world of talk-show hosts.

The Nieman Journalism History Commons is at

The following site provides a great model for history modules:
Bulgakov's Master and Margarita (Russian Novel)

In August 2008 the American Accounting Association launched a great "AAA Commons" for members ---
I started supplying it with resources for education technology and frauds.

The AAA Commons provides an excellent resource for adding Accounting History resources.

I added the following links to the AAA Commons

How can you turn your email messages into free video messages?
How can you video conference calls?

For those of you in the American Accounting Association, I call your attention to a new Teaching Resource called TokBox submitted to the Commons by accounting professor Rick Little. You do not need to go to the Commons for some of Rick’s links passed on below. I thank Rick for sharing this teaching resource.

 AAA Members

Please go to the AAA Commons at least once each day ---
For Teaching and Research Resources, Click on the menu bar item called “Roles”
Rick’s posting is called “Thinking Outside the Box”
You might want to clidk on Rick’s picture to see his interesting profile (e.g., with Grant Thornton and as a local CPA before getting his PhD in accounting)


Links for Non-Members

Rick’s TokBox Blog is at

Rick’s introductory video is at

The TokBox homepage is at

Tokbox is a free service that lets you talk with your friends over live video. Here's how it works: you sign up and we give you a link. When you want to talk with anyone, just give them the link - they click and you chat.

This is an innovative idea for conferencing, letting your parents see their grandchildren, and motivating students. From a societal standpoint it may be a waste of bandwidth for sending videos of talking heads across the Internet.

Amy Dunbar's Eight Years of Instant Messaging While Teaching Online from Her Home
She's a tax professor at the University of Connecticut

"Cogito Interruptus," by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, August 20, 2008 ---

Long before any of us started going online, Jean Baudrillard wrote about the “ecstacy of communication.” This was not as pleasant as it probably sounds. It referred to a state in which “the most intimate processes of life become the virtual feeding ground of the media” and “the entire universe comes to unfold arbitrarily on your domestic screen.” It is a new cultural scene that abolishes “the minimal separation of public and private,” in which certain aspects of life were “played out in a restricted space.” Baudrillard, writing in the 1980s, was thinking of TV, which is hardly the “screen” that comes to mind now. Clearly things have gotten ever more ecstatic since then.

In any case, not being disposed either to text messaging or IM certainly did not mean living off the grid. I went through the usual struggles to maintain some degree of control over how much of my attention was consumed by “new media” (an expression that is starting to seem a little silly after all this time). Spending more than about 30 minutes online at a stretch tends to produce a condition in which my head feels like a Mexican jumping bean – my brain thrashing around inside its shell without much possibility of deliberate, purposeful motion. It is possible to minimize this distracted state through the practice of iron self-discipline. So one tells oneself while Googling “how to develop iron self-discipline.”

None of this is unusual, of course. Friends, relations, and colleagues report similar experiences. Nor is it necessarily a sign that the media are creating irreversibly stupifying effects. In my experience, it is still possible to have long spells of tightly focused concentration — times when the flow of my attention to the work at hand precluded any distraction by email, or news updates, or what have you.

Or so it once seemed. Over the past few months, I’ve started to wonder.

For a while, it seemed like a generational thing.... The first text message came to my cell phone from a young political activist (someone born around the time this 45 year-old was first arrested at a protest) sending out a reminder about the location of a meeting. “Please respond if you can attend,” the note said.

Someone with the necessary skills explained how to type a response on my cellphone. I felt old. But it was a special nuance of that feeling – one that comes with learning to do something you understand to be commonplace, now.

Such reservations were moot. A few days later, another meeting, another message – followed by another, and another – all of it leading, in due course, to that moment of first seriously considering whether it might make sense to abbreviate the word “for” with the numeral 4 in the interest of saving keystrokes, which is not a sacrifice of standards I am quite prepared to make.

Around the time all this texting was beginning to grow routine and familiar, something else happened. The editor of a literary magazine sent me an instant message asking if I would be interested in writing about a new book. Once, this sort of inquiry would have arrived by e-mail, and I might have responded to it by picking up the telephone. Instead, the IM popped up on my computer screen as a little box – making a loud electronic “bing” sound as it did – and seemed to demand an instant reply.

What would normally have taken the form of a phone conversation instead took place at the keyboard. Over the next few days, the “bing” resounded several more times as other friends and colleagues started to IM me. (I had been contacted by one other person by IM about a year ago, but only noticed the message well after it appeared, and never took up IM as routine.) After nearly 15 years of coming to some kind of modus vivendi with e-mail and the Web, I found Baudrillard’s “ecstacy of communication” suddenly growing even more pervasive.

At one level, texting and IM are just slight variations on the now-familiar medium of e-mail. They tend to be even more casual — without so much formality as a subject line, even — yet they finally seem more similar to e-mail than anything else.

But now that e-mail itself is both so commonplace and so prone to abuse (“naked Angelina Jolie pics here!”), these supplementary forms have a slightly different valence. They seem more urgent. In the case of IM in particular, there is a suggestion of presence – the sense of an individual on the other end, waiting for a reply. (Indeed, the IM format indicates whether someone you know is online at a given time. The window indicates when a person is typing something to send to you.)

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
One of the first accounting/tax professors to use Instant Messaging with online students was my hero Amy Dunbar when she taught those early UCONN online courses from her home. You can read her paper and  listen to Amy describe her early successes with IM in online teaching at
Her mp3 file is also at
Scroll down to the audio link to her mp3 file (this large file loads slowly)
I recorded this using my video camera's microphone, so don't expect much in the way of audio quality.

August 20, 2008 reply from Amy Dunbar [Amy.Dunbar@BUSINESS.UCONN.EDU]


By now AECM is probably tired of hearing about how I teach online, but thank you for the plug. I never tire of talking about online teaching because I am such a huge believer in its efficiency and effectiveness, particularly for working graduate students. Of the 11 online faculty, only 3 of us use AIM in our classes, so most prefer not to synchronous interaction. After 8 years of teaching online, I am still a big fan on instant messaging with my students. Unlike the earlier years, however, I now have scheduled office hours online, although I occasionally log on at other times, especially if an assignment is due. My TA logs on every Tuesday night. I log on every Wednesday and Thursday nights, from 7 to 9, which usually goes on until 10 or later because I have a policy that as long as I am getting questions I will stay online. Sometimes when I am getting a lot of IMs, I just post brb (be right back), and the student types the question while I am answering another question. The trend has been that students IM me much less and IM their group members much more. They have to evaluate each other each week, so they have an incentive to work together to ensure high participation scores.

When I log on, I can see which groups are meeting because I change their screen names (usually undecipherable names) to G(roup)#LastName, using an AIM tool. Works like a charm. Students post their AIM chats on their group boards so anyone who misses a meeting can see what happened. As I have noted before on AECM, I take excerpts from their chats and post a weekly highlights at the end of each week. This reminds the groups that they are part of a larger class .

Some instructors fear that they will have no personal impact in an online setting. That has not been the case for me. The following is from a student email today: Your energy level is not only exhausting, but inspiring ...

Thus, students still get a feel for who I am as a person, although the energy is certainly going down as the years pile on!

Amy Dunbar


Bob Jensen's threads on tricks and tools of the trade are at

Why did Bob Jensen cut up his "free airlines mileage" credit cards?

Using such cards is now a bad deal relative to cards that provide cash discounts on nearly all purchases. In the past this added mileage from credit cards was a good deal and helped Erika and I get a number of free trips to Europe and elsewhere. Now these airline-miles credit cards are more of a scam, especially cards that charge an annual fee. The problem is the increased barriers airlines are putting up for redemption of the miles, especially the almost certain likelihood that one or more legs of your planned itinerary will not have free seating available.

My advice: 
Get a free credit card that offers cash discounts on almost all purchases. Shop around! There are some good deals in this regard and bad deals for airline miles. The airlines now have trillions in outstanding free mile liabilities. They are increasingly being creative on how to avoid providing free redemptions. Also the huge reduction in the numbers of flights scheduled by most all airlines is another bummer.

About the only good deal remaining for free miles, at least for me, is the Southwest Airlines free ticket deal, and you don't need any particular credit card to get this deal. Southwest Airlines, to my knowledge, is the only major airline to consistently earn a profit year-to-year. There are a lot of reasons why!

"Gauging the Worth of a Frequent-Flier Credit Card," by Ron Lieber, The New York Times, August 16, 2008 --- Click Here

One after the other in recent weeks, airlines have altered their frequent-flier mile programs, adding fees, taking away bonuses and raising the number of miles you need for some free tickets.

But lost in fliers’ frustration over the changes is this: It may make more sense to change the credit card you use, not the airline you fly.

Consumers are currently holding about 45 million credit cards issued by United States banks that reward their users with frequent-flier miles, according to The Nilson Report, a payments systems newsletter. That number has held steady for three years.

This may be the year that number starts dropping. After a certain point, it will no longer make sense for many people to pay the annual fees that mileage cards usually charge and pay new fees to book tickets or upgrades. Will they also want to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on a card just so they can try to redeem miles for a single free plane ticket?

I’ve come up with five questions to ask yourself if you’ve still got a mileage credit card at the top of your wallet, and a number of alternatives for different types of cards. But first, some snippets from the program changes, just in case you’ve missed them:

US Airways has stopped giving bonus miles to members of its Dividend Miles program who have elite status, and the airline also added reward booking fees that range from $25 to $50.

American added a new online booking fee for rewards tickets and is about to raise the number of miles required for many flights. Moreover, its customers will soon have to pay new or increased co-payments much of the time, along with their frequent-flier miles, for upgrades to the front of the plane.

Delta added its own surcharges and also raised the number of miles customers will need to redeem for many free flights. Perhaps most interestingly, it introduced a three-tier price chart. For flights to 49 states (not including Hawaii) and Canada, for example, you could end up trading 25,000, 40,000 or 60,000 miles for a round-trip flight.

That 25,000-mile price for a free ticket has become somewhat sacred. The major airlines have increased the prices in miles for many other tickets, but not this one. How many people will give up on finding available seats at the 25,000 level, then hand over 40,000 or 60,000 miles? It’s hard to say, but Delta probably hopes that it is a lot.

The availability question gets to the heart of the matter. How hard is it to get free seats? And is it getting harder? The frustrating thing about this whole game is that we don’t really know the answers.

We don’t know how often average fliers get their first (or 10th) choice of flight or destination when trying to use their miles or just give up and buy the ticket. The airlines don’t tell us how many seats are available on any given flight or if more will become available later. Joe Brancatelli, proprietor of the business travel site, refers to frequent-flier programs as unregulated lotteries, which gets it about right.

Are fewer seats available for reasonable amounts of miles? Well, most major airlines are reducing the number of seats they fly, often by double-digit percentages. Flights are extremely crowded. But the airlines keep selling their miles to credit card companies and others that want to give them away to their own customers.

That means more miles are chasing fewer seats, even if the airlines aren’t reducing the number of seats on each flight that customers can book with a reasonable amount of miles.

It’s tempting to throw up your hands in despair at the lack of information. But there are several questions that can help you determine whether you want to keep adding miles from credit card spending to the miles you earn on the plane. Start with these:

DO YOU CARRY A BALANCE? If you don’t pay your bill in full each month, you’re excused from this discussion. You’ll do better by using cards with lower interest rates than frequent-flier mile cards, which generally have pretty high rates.

ARE YOUR CHILDREN IN SCHOOL? If they are, you’ll be fighting everyone else who wants to travel at the same time. The airlines, knowing your desperation to get out of town, may make fewer free seats available during school vacations, since the airline will probably sell all the seats on those flights anyway.

DO YOU HAVE ELITE STATUS? Some airlines — like American, Northwest, United and Continental — carve out additional inventory of free seats at their lower mileage levels for some or all customers with elite status. That inventory, plus the bonus miles that most airlines still offer to elite members, make a mileage credit card more attractive.

ARE YOU A BIG SPENDER? If you’re wealthy, or can run business expenses through your card, you can earn six figures in miles from card spending alone each year. A huge mileage balance gives you the ability to exchange those miles for premium-class overseas tickets, which could cost $10,000 or more if you bought them with cash. Miles are worth a lot more if you redeem them for this sort of travel.

Continued in article

"Credit Card 101: Advice Before Shopping," AccountingWeb, November 22, 2006 ---

President Brad Stroh of feels that consumers debts are growing without conscious decisions being made. "For those who are over their heads in debt, taking action quickly is critical, before it's too late to prevent any temporary hardships from becoming permanent financial crises," he warns.

Stroh has six steps that he says, if followed, will minimize the damage of mounting debts.


  1. First and foremost, stop charging. Consumers are falling back on credit cards and using them as "emergency funds", often doing more harm by charging items that they don't need and that are not necessary.

  2. Always pay bills on time. Pay on time, even if you can only afford a minimum payment. Penalty rates for late payments can be crippling, as high as 31 percent, which in turn leads to a higher balance and higher minimums and big late fees. Cards may even raise the interest rate if you are late in payment to another creditor.

  3. Pay more than the minimum. Promise yourself that you will pay more than necessary when ever you can, even if it is $10 and round the amount out to the next $10 or $100 increment. By doing this, you decrease the debt faster.

  4. Pay the highest interest debt first. Pay more on the debt that is charging the highest rate and move down in order of the rate, saving the lowest rate debt for last, such as a student loan.

  5. Negotiate your rates. If you pay on time and have a bigger debt than you would normally have, you might be a company's ideal client, so try to capitalize on a good payment history by getting your rate lowered, especially if it is above the 14.67 national average. Call customer service and ask. Try more than once.

  6. Get help. There are many sources that can provide help with debt problems and advice on how to get out of debt, especially in cases such as medical problems that have resulted in short-term debt. Borrowing money from family or combining old debt onto a no-interest, lower interest card are some ideas, as are borrowing against life insurance or retirement funds.

Bills.Com, is a free, online service for consumers who need help on complex and personal financial issues. The California company's co-founders and CEOs, Brad Stroh and Andrew Housser, were recently named finalists for Northern California by Ernst & Young's 2006 Entrepreneur of the Year Award. They handle more than 7,500 clients, nationwide.


Bob Jensen's threads on the dirty secrets of credit card companies are at

August 17, 2008 reply from Tom Selling [tom.selling@GROVESITE.COM]

One of the factors not mentioned in the article (I admit that I haven't read beyond what Bob has provided) is the one that is most critical to me. I told to USAirways credit cards, using each one for half a year; USAirways gives me 10,000 miles on each card toward their ‘elite’ status. This generally bumps me up one status level, and I'm pretty confident that I receive additional first-class upgrades as a result. First-class seating sure isn't what it used to be, but it's way better than trying to fit my 6’ 6” frame into a coach seat, especially when there is another wide-body stuff into the seat next to me.

Tom Selling

August 17, 2008 reply from Tom Selling [tom.selling@GROVESITE.COM]

More related to an AECM topic then credit card miles, I re-read my message after it was sent to me by the listserv, and noticed a number of typos. I've just started using Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and although it is somewhat buggy, it works pretty well for certain applications like writing e-mail. The lesson I am learning the hard way, however, is that one's proofreading pass needs to be done very carefully before clicking the "send" button.

It's a good thing that I did do some proofreading before I sent the first message out: I caught the computer thinking I said "God" when I meant “Bob.” Who knows, perhaps it was a Freudian slip and the computer heard right!

Finally, a little bit ticked off at the software vendor, because I've owned the product for less than one month. Just last week, they announced a new version that they claim has fixed some of the bugs and increases accuracy by another 20%. Version 9 owners, such as myself, can upgrade to version 10 by ponying up another $95. But, if I had known that a new version was imminent, I would have delayed my purchase. I like the product, but I feel ripped off. For someone who purchased the software so recently, I would think that they should offer a free upgrade.

Tom Selling


"Incorrect Citations," The University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communications Blog, July 8, 2008 ---

I've always been interested in the phenomenon of papers where the authors have cited papers that they haven't read -- and often cite them incorrectly: either the citation itself is wrong or they're misrepresenting the information / conclusions in the paper cited.

I often strongly suggested to grad students who are preparing their dissertations that they be SURE to look at EVERY paper they cite in their disseration / articles! I had thought, with the advent of reference management systems such as EndNote and RefWorks that the phenomenon of bad citations would decline.... apparently not.

Apparently this problem is still around.
As summarized in the July 8 Inside Higher Ed:
Cite Check

and as reported in Interfaces:
Vol. 38, No. 2, March-April 2008, pp. 125-139
The Ombudsman: Verification of Citations: Fawlty Towers of Knowledge?
Malcolm Wright, J. Scott Armstrong

"Mapping Your Digital Photo World:  Card Uploads And Charts Shots With Location Data, by Kathering Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2008; Page D8 ---

After spending summer vacation shooting the sights, many people face the same chore: labeling and organizing digital photos before forgetting what they are and where they were taken.

Now there's a way to upload photos that are already labeled with their exact latitude and longitude using geotagging, the fancy name for labeling data with information on its geographic origin. Photos with "geotags" have coordinates embedded invisibly in them. Some programs or online photo services use these tags to generate maps showing just where each photo was taken, or to label or organize the images. Not long ago, this capability was mostly done through manual labeling or with costly equipment.

This week, I tested the $129 Eye-Fi Explore Card (, a special two-gigabyte memory card from Eye-Fi Inc. that adds a photo geotagging feature to Eye-Fi's original functionality: the automatic wireless uploading of photos, straight from a digital camera to a home computer or photo-sharing service. If all goes well, users can capture and upload what are essentially geographically prelabeled batches of digital photos -- with minimal effort and time.

But after days of testing, I found myself more frustrated as I used this wireless memory card in various places and situations, and found the tagging to be unreliable in one scenario. (Eye-Fi Inc. said my experiences weren't typical.) At home in Washington, D.C., and while on a business trip to California, I tried it using a two-year-old Kodak digital camera and two different Vista laptops, though it also works on Macs.

Eye-Fi introduced the Explore Card as a follow-up to the company's original wireless memory card, which it introduced last fall. Once set up, the first Eye-Fi card initiated the transferring of photos to a computer or Web site whenever the digital camera was turned on and as long as it was near a pre-associated wireless network.

Through a partnership with Skyhook Wireless, the Explore card can automatically label photos with their latitude and longitude using data from the Skyhook's Wi-Fi positioning system. As long as a photo is captured within the Skyhook coverage area, which the company says covers 70% of North America, and the geotagging is enabled, each photo will be coded with data identifying where it was captured.

The Explore Card turned otherwise normal photo-sharing sites into mini maps showing where I had traveled while on a business trip in Silicon Valley. I set my account up to work with Flickr, Kodak Gallery, Snapfish, Shutterfly and Picasa Web Albums, though only one will work at a time. Flickr, Picasa Web Albums and Smugmug make use of geotagged photos by tagging shots with their location data, such as "Downtown Palo Alto, California." I used Flickr and Picasa Web Albums to instantaneously generate a map showing where I was when I took photos.

On Flickr, each image was represented by a pink dot associated with one of several photos displayed in a horizontal bar below the map. This map can be searched for specific tags (photo labels) or locations and can be narrowed to show images from everyone who uses Flickr, just your own photostream, or only photos from friends or contacts. My searches returned results in seconds, finding shots that were geotagged with "Palo Alto" and tagged by me as containing flowers. I enjoyed looking at other Flickr users' photos when I searched everyone's images, specifically in cities where I recognized landmarks.

Picasa Web Albums showed each geotagged image on a map by placing tiny versions of each photo on the map. In certain cases, when I had multiple photos taken at the same spot, photos appeared with lines drawn from them to a spot, much like spokes of a wheel. I also looked at my Picasa photos on maps in Google Earth; a quick link to the program is conveniently found at the top of the Picasa Web Albums screen.

Another key feature of the Explore Card is its hotspot connectivity. The card is capable of working in any Wayport location, which includes McDonald's restaurants and certain airports and hotels. Though using Wayport locations normally requires sign-ins and/or payment via a computer screen, the Explore Card works as soon as the camera is turned on in these locations. This service is free for the first year, but after that, it costs $19 annually to continue.

Finally, the Explore Card notifies users via SMS or email messages when photos have either started or finished uploading; or if these uploads are interrupted, which happened to me a few times. This is useful in Wayport wireless zones, where the camera has no real way of signaling when an upload is finished or when a computer isn't handy.

In a hotel with a flaky Wi-Fi network, the Explore Card was crippled, though I blame the hotel for this inconvenience. But even when I traveled to a local McDonald's, where Eye-Fi's maker has a deal for free Wi-Fi for its cards, the Eye-Fi stuttered and couldn't consistently upload photos. When I plugged the card directly into my laptops, the results weren't much better.

If you aren't within Wi-Fi range while taking a photo, it won't be geotagged. I ran into this issue in one instance: On California's highway 101, I took a handful of photos, but when I checked my Eye-Fi account later, none of these photos was automatically geotagged.

Some people worry about privacy settings when it comes to uploading geotagged photos directly to a sharing Web site. Settings within the Eye-Fi Manager make it easy to adjust permissions to determine who can see your photos within each of about 25 sharing sites.

Users can opt to share photos only to a home computer through their own Wi-Fi network, and a special card is designed for just that: the $79 Eye-Fi Home. This is meant to serve as a shortcut for transfers.

The original Eye-Fi, which costs $99, was a useful tool as a wireless memory card, but I didn't have as much luck with the more expensive Eye-Fi Explore. Still, when it did work, I found geotagging to be a great way of automatically labeling and organizing my photos. Instead of just being neatly stored in a folder on your computer, geotagged images are given a spark of life and relevancy when plotted out on a map.

Bob Jensen's threads on photo sharing and storage are at

From the Scout Report on August 15, 2008

PicLens 1.8 --- 

It's probably impossible to create a true 3D experience in terms of web- browsing, but PicLens 1.8 comes quite close. This application can be used with a variety of browsers to bring online photos and videos into sharp relief. Essentially, PicLens displays video and photos as a movable "wall" of sorts on the monitor. To some, it might seem like a bit much, but it's still worth a try. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP or Vista.

StudyMinder Lite 2.6 --- 

School is just around the corner and StudyMinder Lite 2.6 may be just the ticket for young scholars everywhere. With StudyMinder, users can stay on top of assignment due dates, homework notes, and the application can even remind users of the total time that will need to prepare for school each day. This version of StudyMinder is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer.


Free online textbooks, cases, and tutorials in accounting, finance, economics, and statistics ---

Education Tutorials

Bob Jensen's threads on general education tutorials are at

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

Clifford Glenwood Shull Collection (Physics) ---

Forensic Chemistry Lab Manual ---

NOVA: Lord of the Ants (video) ---

Medicine and Medical History
The Wellcome Library: Turning The Pages (video) ---

Bob Jensen's threads on free online science, engineering, and medicine tutorials are at ---

Social Science and Economics Tutorials

EUROPA: Key facts and figures about Europe and the Europeans ---

EconStats ---
Also see

Mike Kearl's great social theory site ---

Great Social Theorists ---
Also see

International Olympic Committee (video) ---

Bob Jensen's threads on Economics, Anthropology, Social Sciences, and Philosophy tutorials are at

Law and Legal Studies

Bob Jensen's threads on law and legal studies are at

Math Tutorials

Math DL: Loci (video) ---

Bob Jensen's threads on free online mathematics tutorials are at

History and Literature Tutorials

NSF and the Birth of the Internet (video and slide show) ---
How Internet Stuff Works ---

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: His Life, All His Works and More ---

Museum of Biblical Art (video) ---

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) ---

"Forgotten PC history: The true origins of the personal computer --- The PC's back story involves a little-known Texas connection," by Lamont Wood, Computer World, August 8, 2008 --- Click Here

Bulgakov's Master and Margarita (Russian Novel)

EUROPA: Key facts and figures about Europe and the Europeans ---

EconStats ---
Also see

Mike Kearl's great social theory site ---

Great Social Theorists ---
Also see

International Olympic Committee (video) ---

A cleverly-constructed timeline on the history of the world's great religions ---
Museum of Biblical Art (video) ---

Bob Jensen's threads on history tutorials are at
Also see  

Language Tutorials

Bob Jensen's links to language tutorials are at

Writing Tutorials

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at

Updates from WebMD ---


Brain surgery is getting easier on patients
Rather than removing large sections of the skull or face, Duckworth is reaching the brain through much smaller openings. And in certain cases, he goes through the nose to get to the brain. "It's not necessary to expose a large surface of the brain in order to access a small abnormality," said Duckworth, an assistant professor, neurological surgery, at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
PhysOrg, August 20, 2008 ---


Forwarded by David Albrecht

An Amish boy and his father were visiting a nearby mall. They were amazed by almost everything they saw, but especially by two shiny silver walls that moved apart and back together again by themselves.

The lad asked, "What is this, father?"

The father, having never seen an elevator, responded, "I have no idea what it is."

While the boy and his father were watching wide-eyed, an old lady in a wheelchair rolled up to the moving walls and pressed a button. The walls opened and the lady rolled between them into a small room. The walls closed and the boy and his father watched as small circles lit up above the walls.

The walls opened up again and a beautiful twenty-four-year-old woman stepped out.

The father looked at his son anxiously and said, "Go get your mother."

August 19, 2008 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi David,

Thanks for the humor. What's ironic is that just this moment my wife and I finished watching a NetFlix movie entitled "All Passion Spent." It's about how beauty and life begin at age 70 or thereabouts.

The old Amish man might've been truly disappointed if his wife walked up to the moving walls and pressed the button.


Bob Jensen


Forwarded by Auntie Bev

Southern Skinny Dippin'

An elderly man in North Carolina had owned a large farm for several years. He had a large pond in the back, fixed up really
nice, along with some picnic tables, horseshoe courts, and some apple and peach trees. The pond was properly shaped and fixed
up for swimming when it was built.

One evening the old farmer decided to go down to the pond, as he hadn't been there for a while, and look it over. 
He grabbed a five gallon bucket to bring back some fruit. As he neared the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee. When he came closer, he realized it was a bunch of young women skinny-dipping in his pond. He made the women aware of his presence, and they all went to the deep end to shield themselves.

One of the women shouted to him, 'We're not coming out until you leave!'

The old man frowned and replied, 'I didn't come down here to watch you ladies swim naked or make you get out of the pond naked.'  Holding the bucket up he said, 'I'm here to feed the alligator.'

Moral of the story:  Old men may move slow, but can still think fast.



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

World Clock ---
Facts about the earth in real time ---

Interesting Online Clock and Calendar ---
Time by Time Zones ---
Projected Population Growth (it's out of control) ---
         Also see
Facts about population growth (video) ---
Projected U.S. Population Growth ---
Real time meter of the U.S. cost of the war in Iraq --- 
Enter you zip code to get Census Bureau comparisons ---
Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.

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

Many useful accounting sites (scroll down) ---


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