UD knew we’d get some great writing from rabbis…

… in the wake of Barry “Slam Dunk” Freundel’s stumble.

My most uncomfortable [conversion] moments were when an adult male had to lie on a table with his private parts exposed so the Bet Din could witness the hatafat dam brit (a quasi-circumcision). And yet, no man – not a single one – ever complained about the process because each knew that it was a small price he had to pay (a requirement) for membership in an eternal people.

First his father, and now his father-in-law!

Jared Kushner, the publisher of the New York paper Observer, is an old hand at defending those near and dear to him who have become enmeshed in the American criminal justice system. He tried to keep his father out of jail, but eventually Charles Kushner

pled guilty to eighteen felony counts of tax fraud, election violations, and witness tampering. In the strangest twist, Charles admitted to taking revenge on a hated brother-in-law by secretly setting up him up with a prostitute, then taping the encounter. He spent sixteen months behind bars for his crimes.

That was in 2009, so Jared had a few years respite before today, when “a federal judge certified a RICO class action” against his father-in-law, Trump University president and soon to be United States president Donald Trump. The class action will argue that Trump “misrepresent[ed] Trump University… to make tens of millions of dollars but deliver[ed] neither Donald Trump nor a university.”

(And that’s just the class action. Don’t even talk about the

court battle [Trump just lost] against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman when a judge ruled that Trump was personally liable for running the university without a license.

Schneiderman accused Trump of fraud, claiming he had cheated students out of $40 million. New York Supreme Court Justice Cynthia Kern found that Trump and Michael Saxton, who served as the school’s president, knew that the university was being run without a license.

A determination of damages in that case is pending.)

This latest effort on Jared’s part (read the badly timed editorial in his paper here - I mean, badly timed because a day after Kushner published it the RICO thing happened) to keep a family member out of the hands of the justice system has a wonderfully DeLilloesque postmodernity to it, with Trump insisting that after all Trump University was bogus and the class action people ought to have known this:

[Trump argued that anyone] could have known as early as July 2009 that Trump University was not an actual university…

It’s possible that Trump – and his son-in-law – and maybe his son-in-law’s paper – know, as of today, that the Attorney General’s case against Trump and his namesake university is actual.


UPDATE: Though there’s not much his son-in-law’s paper can do for him at this point, Donald Trump still has friends in high places:

[Florida Attorney General Pam] Bondi accepted $25,000 from Donald Trump three days after a spokeswoman said she would be reviewing a complaint filed by the New York attorney general against Trump’s for-profit schools. Even though they’ve received complaints in Florida as well, Bondi’s office has yet to take action.

Sweet! Helluva job, Pam. Keep working for Florida!

Snapshots from Home


La Kid shows off the
blue sweater that her mother
found for her last weekend
at the Rehoboth Beach
J Crew outlet.

Rape-Friendly Alcorn State…

is at it again.

Must be really weird being a cheerleader there.

For-Profit Education in America: It’s exactly like a sausage.

Bridgepoint Education, a for-profit online school that has been under scrutiny for what Mr. Miller, the Iowa attorney general, called “unconscionable sales practices,” turned to [a lobbying firm] to set up meetings with [Florida Attorney General Pam] Bondi’s staff, to urge her not to join in the inquiries underway in several states. Again, her office decided not to take up the matter, citing the small number of complaints about Bridgepoint it has received.

You do not want to know what goes into it.

Gregg Easterbrook does the math.

Disbursing about 5 percent a year from an endowment ensures its principal will not shrink over time. At 5 percent, Harvard’s endowment would generate $1.8 billion annually in perpetuity. So how can Harvard possibly need more? That sum equates to $2.6 million per undergraduate per year — almost 50 times the school’s sticker price. Harvard already has ample endowment for every undergraduate to attend free, with vast reserves remaining for other purposes. Yet Harvard is in the midst of a capital campaign, demanding another $6.5 billion.

At least, however, struggling taxpayers get to help generous Harvard donors:

The deductibility of donations to higher education means [Robert Griffin, who just gave Harvard $150 million,] really gave Harvard about $100 million, with taxpayers covering the balance. Ordinary people whose children are buried under student loans, and can only dream of attending Harvard, will be taxed to fund the transfer of another $50 million to the Crimson elite.

The same occurs any time donations from those in the top bracket go to the Ivy League, Stanford, Williams, Amherst — average people are taxed to pamper the children of affluence. Grant Hill just gave $1.25 million to Duke University, his alma mater. Good for him! After the deduction, Hill pays about two-thirds of the announced total. The rest comes from average taxpayers who can only dream of a child attending Duke.

Easterbrook’s recommendation:

[E]nd the deductibility of donations to colleges or universities whose endowments exceed $1 million per enrolled student.

“They stress the benefits of joining, and brag about attracting the prettiest, smartest or most athletic.”

Keep that third one in mind: most athletic. Read this article about sororities and add to an undergraduate woman’s non-academic time commitments participation in one or more university teams. Get the picture?

“It is the fifth lawsuit filed over the incident.”

After the student’s initial lawsuit against the university, Ludlow also sued Northwestern for what he alleged was its “flawed” handling of the investigation. He also sued several media outlets over the reporting of the student’s initial suit. The student later filed suit against Ludlow alleging violation of the state’s Illinois Gender Violence Act.

Really beginning to pile up.

Background here.

Snapshots from Home: A GW Student Encounters Freundel’s “Blind Followers”

A George Washington University graduate, now a GW graduate student, writes about her experience with Barry “Slam Dunk” Freundel.

Over the period of my conversion process, Rabbi Freundel would remark in various conversations that I was a young, attractive female, especially during times I mentioned I was in no rush to get married. I went to several congregants with my concerns [about his comments] but they dismissed them… Upon returning to the D.C. area for graduate school, I moved to Maryland, in large part to escape Rabbi Freundel and the people that followed him blindly.

“DE-fense! DE-fense!”

These dedicated men and women worked tirelessly in the courtroom and together formed an ironclad defense that will be remembered for generations to come. Just as importantly, throughout their time here, they remained equally committed to the ideals and core values of Penn State.

Honoring Penn State’s finest.


UD thanks Wendy.

“Islamist Party in Tunisia Concedes to Secularists”

Amid all the bad world news, some truly good news.

“Some of [UNC's fake] classes were listed on course schedules as lecture classes with classrooms assigned, but they never actually met. Didn’t anyone wonder why those classrooms were empty?”

So here’s where the ethos of the serious university hits up against a perfectly reasonable question from a person outside the university.

The greatest damage UNC’s corruption has done is not to its students’ degrees (despite all the coverage and hoo-hah, no one cares about what happened at UNC, and they won’t look at its graduates’ degrees any differently than they did before), but to the American university as such.

Why? Go back to those empty classrooms nobody noticed. Of course many people did notice; but they were in on the game. What about everyone else?

Serious American universities, like the American economy, ultimately run on trust. They are special places in part because there isn’t anyone racing around checking to see if you’re meeting your class. The assumption at serious universities is that faculty obviously meet their classes. It is that kind of community. It is a serious place full of serious people, both students and faculty.

UNC isn’t a serious university anymore (it can become one again); at UNC, in the wake of the scandal, all professors are subject to spot checks. At UNC

administrators are making surprise inspections in class to make sure courses are actually taking place.

You’re in the army now, fella! Sheets on tight? Maybe I’ll just burst in on you some afternoon…


That is why no one noticed the empty classrooms. No one was looking. Everyone was trusting that a tenured professor, the chair of a department, a researcher in a recognized field, would – duh! – meet his classes. Are you kidding me?

UNC has fucked it up for all of us, especially those sentenced to life at a sports factory. Because now that the lid has fallen off UNC, it’s going to fall off a lot of other schools. Don’t forget that a critical mass of these absurdity-based institutions has been growing: Exactly the same academic hoax has been reported on at Auburn, SUNY Binghamton, etc. Everyone knows that a variant of the UNC scheme operates at virtually all of the big-time sports schools, and now that we’re paying attention, we can expect dozens of other unshocking revelations from other campuses.

The UNC thing goes straight to the heart of what distinguishes universities from all other institutions, all other workplaces. The university is an odd creature, a rare thing. Bartlett Giamatti called it “a free and ordered space.” Get it? Free and ordered?

It’s also a delicate thing. Our friends from the southland have really done a number on it.

What it’s like on the ground in Chapel Hill.

There’s too much deflection out there already and a pervasive, practiced defensiveness that’s without even a whiff of contrition.

What’s essentially behind that response: Everyone does it. We just got caught.

“[M]ost of us believed he was just a slightly delusional and idiosyncratic personality with an exaggerated sense of self importance and a lack of empathy, hardly a crime or even a rarity in the rabbinate…”

Really? Wow.

The ribald rabbi with the radio schools us on… rabbis.

Snapshots from Home

After a pleasant metro ride this morning with La Kid – she got out at Dupont Circle – I transferred at Metro Center, and then boarded a train to my stop, Foggy Bottom. On the Foggy Bottom train, across from me, sat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (slender, dressed in elegant black, her hair white/blond like Camilla Parker-Bowles’) and her daughter. Just like us, they chatted about her daughter’s Halloween party plans for this weekend, and just like us they exchanged a kiss as one of them (the mother in this case) got off at her stop.

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