Icy Path


Early morning shot of
UD‘s backyard.
Everything has iced over.

Icy Buddha


Click on this photo, which La Kid
just took from inside the house,
to see UD‘s icy Buddha atop
an upside down birdbath.

‘It hit me one day as I sat in my 8 a.m. financial accounting class. The professor was clicking through his PowerPoint rapidly (a PowerPoint he had not written), pausing for seconds on each problem, answer, problem, answer, saying, “Yes, well you can all do these at home…”, when a student raised his hand. “No, sorry,” said my professor, holding up his hand to his student. “I don’t have time for questions. I need to get through these slides.”‘

Ah, the morgue classroom. This Brandeis student is experiencing, in “four out of the five classes that I am taking this semester,” what UD calls the morgue classroom, where the professor gazes earthward and intones, while the students gaze at their laptops and drift off.

The morgue classroom is as silent as the grave – more silent each class session, since, as this student goes on to note, there’s no reason to attend.


Yes, those who attend the dying body, that drifting keening Greek chorus, become fewer and fewer, ultimately stranding the designated mourner at the front of the congregation, humiliated by her aloneness.

Of course you know – don’t you? – that most morgue classrooms feature mandatory attendance policies. How else can you keep them gathering, again and again, at the dark silent river?

Shall we gather at the river?

Give me one good reason.


You’ll flunk the course if you don’t.

Yeshiva University’s Ira Rennert: Another in a Long Line of Looters.

It’s official: We can add Rennert’s name to fabled YU benefactors like Bernard Madoff, Ezra Merkin, and Zygi Wilf. Today the man who endowed YU’s Entrepreneurial Institute (it’s named after him), has been found guilty of looting one of his companies. But he did it in a good cause!

[The jury agreed that] Rennert [was] a willfully negligent tycoon who looted MagCorp to subsidize [his] sprawling Hamptons estate while turning a blind eye to pollution [the EPA’s suing him for the pollution; this trial verdict was just for the looting]. [The] Brooklyn-born billionaire’s Italianate home boasts a 164-seat theater, 100-car garage and 39 bathrooms, and is valued at $500 million.

What an inspiring entrepreneurial example for the eager young business students at the Rennert Entrepreneurial Institute! A junk bond campus whose business philosophy comes straight from Ira Rennert! And don’t forget – Yeshiva is a religious institution.


There’s Rennert Hall at Columbia University and the Rennert chair in finance and entrepreneurship at New York University. There’s also the Rennert Entrepreneurial Institute at Yeshiva University and the Rennert Mikvah, a ritual bath, at the Fifth Avenue Synagogue, where he’s an honorary chairman.

Hm. Those ritual baths have been awfully pesky lately… If they’re not being overseen by someone filming naked women, they’re being named for looters…

No less a person than Jonathan Sacks, who calls himself a “moral voice for our time,” is the Rennert Professor of Judaic Thought at NYU.

UD is going to guess that it’s not going to bother the moral voice that he’s bopping along on … uh… let’s be delicate and call it breach of fiduciary duty money…

“This is not a university with a one-track mind, it is one that says all opinions are valid and all should be discussed …”

That’s a significant part of the problem right there, isn’t it? If the question is How does a university suddenly break into the global limelight for having graduated Jihadi John and sponsored Haitham al-Haddad? part of the answer lies in the fact that the Westminster University student I quote in my headline believes he’s saying something good about his school when he tells us it’s a place that believes all opinions are valid. He’s boasting.

Presumably not everyone at Westminster University thinks it’s valid to opine that homosexuals should be slaughtered like pigs, or that women whose clitorises are still attached to them are apostates. Probably some people at Westminster can think of yet other invalid opinions, opinions that reflective institutions like universities shouldn’t spend time discussing. The Holocaust never happened. The Earth is flat. The Bush administration planned and carried out 9/11. All non-Islamic artifacts must be destroyed.

To be sure, reflective people should be interested in the phenomenon of large numbers of people believing things like this. The more we know about cruelty, fanaticism, conspiratorial thinking, and the failure of any element of the empirical tradition of thought to take hold, the better off we are.

A university graduating people unable to make basic distinctions between valid and invalid beliefs creates a safe space for fanatics. This is what Westminster University appears to have accomplished.


Joseph Weissman:

… Emwazi studied in an environment where his sympathies for jihadi terror were considered “the norm”, and therefore unremarkable; praiseworthy, even. Here, his perverse ideas could be nurtured by his surroundings, rather than flagged up as a concern…

In 2006 at the University of Westminster, the ISOC Annual Dinner from that year featured the Al Qaeda recruiter, Anwar Al Awlaki. It also featured hate preachers Murtaza Khan and Haitham Al Haddad – both of whom support Islamic terrorists killing those deemed “apostates”.

… [Jihadi John] walked into a university which had welcomed hate preachers dreaming of an Islamic State.

… [T]here will be a brief flurry of media interest in how Emwazi attended a university which hosted a leading Al Qaeda recruiter just before he joined, and in university extremism in general. When that dies down, [Haitham] Haddad’s invitation to the University of Westminster may well be restored, and we will all go back to ignoring Islamist extremism on-campus, because it takes too much effort to solve, and it’s too awkward to talk about in polite company.


Avinash Tharoor:

I recall a seminar discussion about Immanuel Kant’s “democratic peace theory,” in which a student wearing a niqab opposed the idea on the grounds that “as a Muslim, I don’t believe in democracy.” Our instructor seemed astonished but did not question the basis of her argument; he simply moved on. I was perplexed, though. Why attend university if you have such a strict belief system that you are unwilling to consider new ideas? And why hadn’t the instructor challenged her? At the time, I dismissed her statement as one person’s outlandish opinion. Later, I realized that her extreme religious views were considerably more prevalent within the institution.

The only thing shocking here is the instructor’s failure to challenge the student. Totally irresponsible; and, for students like the Westminster graduate writing this opinion piece, totally demoralizing.

I don’t think the university itself is advocating extremism, but by failing to prevent the advocacy of such ideas, the institution is attracting students who are sympathetic to them. Students who do not identify with extreme Islamist ideology are being put at risk of discrimination, intimidation and potentially radicalization by the university’s failure to properly handle the situation.

University of Westminster Currently on Pander Alert…

… for having spent years pandering to dangerous ideologues.


Getting huffy (“Jihadi John Went to My University – So What?”) isn’t going to solve your problem.

“In the months leading up to his resignation in November 2013, Dobelle’s legal bills totaling approximately $100,000 had been submitted to the university, which in turn sent them to the state attorney general’s office.”

Eh. You don’t wanna know.

You do?

Go here. Scroll down. Start reading.

Horton Hatches a Scheme

Charles Horton, a computer sciences professor at the University of Alabama, required his students to buy a textbook he’d written, published by a company he owned.

The you have to buy my book so I can make some money bit is as old as the hills, of course; but Horton went one better by owning the publishing company!

You can’t argue with his results: Over many illustrious years of teaching, he made close to four hundred thousand dollars in this way.

However, this is apparently a felony.

Put away the broken glass, gals. But keep it in a handy place.

Rev. FGM’s talk at Westminster University has been postponed (awkward timing).

I’m sure he’ll be back soon, with some self-mutilation tips.

‘[University of Delaware Professor David] Legates is a signatory of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation’s “An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming.” The declaration states: “We believe Earth and its ecosystems — created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence — are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception.”‘

See there? Nothing to worry about.

“Mr. Emwazi, 27, grew up in West London and graduated from the University of Westminster with a degree in computer programming.”

UD thanks an anonymous reader for noticing that the University of Westminster has more than Rev. Female Genital Mutilation to be proud of! The biggest boldest beheadingest believer out there graduated from none other than Westminster University.

Mr. Emwazi, I’m calling from the Westminster University development office…

Sorry? Let me just put this knife down…


The timing [of the Rev. FGM] could not be worse for Westminster University, after it was [revealed] that infamous … terrorist killer Jihadi John is a computer studies graduate.” The reverend will share some of his favorite clit-slitting techniques at the university tomorrow. Be there or be sexually intact!

Necks, clitorises – When it comes to the slicing of the body, Westminster University is the go-to place. Maybe it should open a medical school.

Newspaper poem.

The source of the poem is here.


What Will Survive of Us Is Love

A team of excavators find
Bony lovers intertwined.

Flickering light illumes
Their prior-day Arundel Tomb.


Atop a terraced slope,
Their bodies yield to isotope:

The crania of their burial bones
Have been pelted by occultic stones.

UD’s life at George Washington University enters…

… the prodronal stage.

She’ll keep looking out the window.

She’ll let you know if this develops into something.


… is a bit of a mouthful (though it rather nicely echoes AmeriCorps). It refers to American academia’s enormous, and always growing, corps of adjunct instructors. These non-tenured, often massively underpaid, professors do the heavy lifting at many of our schools, teaching lots of classes with little institutional support.

UD‘s friend Joe Fruscione has, with some colleagues, started PrecariCorps, a foundation that offers temporary financial support to adjuncts.

It reminds UD of her town’s Betsy White Fund, whose quiet good works UD has admired for decades.

The Onion shares reassuring results on …


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