At drug firms there’s truly a science

To being the Chief of Compliance:

A grasp geographic

Of best towns to traffic

Plus conspiracy, greed, and connivance.

‘In court bombshell, witness says he paid football players at Michigan, other schools’

KAPOW! College football is corrupt!

Fuckin’ bombshell, man.

‘[A] powerful subgroup is continuing to ignore’ the imperative to vaccinate their children.

Sad opinion piece in the New York Times, by a Hasidic Jew distraught at the failure of significant numbers of his fellow ultraorthodox to protect their children – and the rest of us – from disease. Here’s the most interesting passage of an essay that rehearses ironclad destructive know-nothingism in several aspects (these most notoriously at the moment include the un-education of children and certain grotesque forms of circumcision) of the larger ultraorthodox community – not merely in the anti-vaccination preaching of a powerful subgroup within that community.

Whether out of shortsightedness or strategic malice, some of our religious leaders have directly fostered an atmosphere where thorough research is sneered at, the scientific method is doubted and the motivations of professionals are assumed to be nefarious and steeped in anti-religious animus.

Hardly shortsightedness, is it? I mean, that’s a pretty innocuous word, suggesting that if we can only point out the longer-term results of various rabbis’ behavior, they will maybe change it. No, the author’s use of the phrase strategic malice is far more interesting. The author’s rightly seeking a nasty motive for a nasty set of behaviors. Malice against whom? Strategic in regard to what end? (If he’d written ignorant malice, we could say What do you expect, given the appalling state of education in many American yeshivas? Weep for where the rejection of enlightened modernity lands you…)

The author repeats the word strategic at the end of his essay: Certain religious leaders are exhibiting “the strategic deployment of a siege mentality.” What’s the percentage, for powerful rabbis, of inculcating in their followers an outside-world-rejectionist mentality so severe as to mentally and physically cripple significant numbers of their children for life, and to put the health of the rest of us at risk because of their followers’ behavior? Answer: It’s obvious. These men are insanely power-hungry. As in other abusive, endgame cults, this is how cult leaders totally control people. Unto besieged death.

And, to use the technical term, this is nuts, ain’t it?


Nuts it may be, but it’s hardly unprecedented or enigmatic behavior. Mildly cultic groups notoriously spin off radical subcults (see Warren Jeffs and the like), and respectable sects know to shun their various psycho subsectarians. Maybe they’ve got people sucking infants’ penises and thereby infecting and sometimes killing them. Maybe they’re infecting their own children with measles. “While it is reasonable to allow adults to martyr themselves to their religion, it is not reasonable to allow them to martyr their children,” says an observer.

UD‘s pretty sure it ain’t reasonable to allow adults to self-martyrize either; but anyway the theme within some orthodox Jewish communities of – in a remarkable number of ways – martyring their children is lately unignorable. Yet these communities – often modern as well as ultra – seem incapable of the shunning that other secretive and tight-knit religious communities are able to accomplish. (Not that they don’t love to shun! They just seem to shun the wrong things.) Nor is New York City’s government willing to go there. So here we are.

Funny, subdued, detailed, and true.

Read it once for enjoyment, and a second time to learn how to write well.

John Hammergren’s a Folkloric Figure Here at University Diaries…

… (read all of these posts to refresh your memory) and he’s just beginning to claim his share of the attention he deserves from the larger world. But we need to be patient; he remains — despite having been rewarded with seven hundred million dollars in personal compensation over ten years for addicting much of the state of West Virginia — parenthetic.

For most businesses, $150 million [in fines] would be a lot of money. At McKesson, it was less than the $159 million retirement package the company granted its longtime chief executive, John H. Hammergren, in 2013. (After a public backlash — a Forbes headline asked if it was “The World’s Most Outrageous Pension Deal?” — the company later reduced the package to $114 million.)

PARENTHESIS $114 million? And why not mention that this, er, specimen sits on the board of the Center for Strategic and International Stupefacients, bringing his knowledge of drug distribution to global thinking at the highest levels? There’s a lot to say about John Hammergren. But people seem willing to wait until he gets arrested (think it can’t happen?) to say it. Here on University Diaries, we’re saying it now.

Function of Child Car Seats, Gunny America:

Holds ’em steady for a better shot.

UD knew if she lived long enough, things would circle back and make her trendy.

When almost thirty years ago she decided she’d had enough of driving cars, people would gaze at her and say things like My grandmother had that problem. Now

If teenagers are any guide, Americans’ love affair with the automobile may no longer be something car makers can bank on.

The percentage of teens with a driver’s license has tumbled in the last few decades and more young people are delaying purchasing their first car—if buying one at all…

UD, as veteran readers know, thinks it likely she’s a happier, calmer person not only because she stopped driving, but because she stopped driving in the DC area’s notoriously bad conditions.

‘He told police that he was taking a shortcut through church to reach his minivan, which he claimed had run out of gas.’


Final Victory of the Rapoport Family Over Ocean City.
1927: UD‘s father on his father Joe Rapoport’s lap in front of the Rapoport property at issue, on the Ocean City boardwalk. Also Beatrice, her father’s sister.

Joe’s brother Nathan owned various Ocean City properties and concessions as far back at 1912, and the one you see in the picture – now a Dumser’s ice cream parlor – has remained in the Rapoport family all this time. The city has been trying to evict them, claiming it’s been owned by OC all this time.

The state’s highest court on Friday denied a petition by the Town of Ocean City to hear an appeal in the battle over ownership of a Boardwalk property, essentially bringing closure to the longstanding case.

The state’s Court of Appeals on Friday denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed in February by the town against Nathans Associates, the heir and owners of the century-old-plus building the east side of the Boardwalk at South Division Street, which, for decades, has been home to the iconic Dumser’s Dairyland. The petition asked the Court of Appeals to hear the case after the lower Court of Special Appeals ruled twice against the town.

Lord of the Flies…

ladies’ version.

Oh, those girls!

A brawl and gunshots…

… Just another football game.

Score One for the Enlightenment

The fanatics refusing to vaccinate their children suffer a setback from a judge.

“A fireman need not obtain the informed consent of the owner before extinguishing a house fire,” [Lawrence] Knipel wrote in his ruling. “Vaccination is known to extinguish the fire of contagion.”

Tea Today at The Line Hotel.
Sweet yellow house on the way to the hotel – every window and pillar festooned.

The Line is new, way hip, and has a most original tea.

Featured takoyaki. Karyna, my companion, spends every summer in Japan, and was thrilled. La Kid joined us, at the end of her workday.

Get longer lashes…

… the sharia way.

A Boy and His Dog

Mr UD and Emilia, on the deck, early spring.

Next Page »

Latest UD posts at IHE





Dr. Bernard Carroll, known as the "conscience of psychiatry," contributed to various blogs, including Margaret Soltan's University Diaries, for which he sometimes wrote limericks under the name Adam.
New York Times

George Washington University English professor Margaret Soltan writes a blog called University Diaries, in which she decries the Twilight Zone-ish state our holy land’s institutes of higher ed find themselves in these days.
The Electron Pencil

It’s [UD's] intellectual honesty that makes her blog required reading.
Professor Mondo

There's always something delightful and thought intriguing to be found at Margaret Soltan's no-holds-barred, firebrand tinged blog about university life.

You can get your RDA of academic liars, cheats, and greedy frauds at University Diaries. All disciplines, plus athletics.
truffula, commenting at Historiann

Margaret Soltan at University Diaries blogs superbly and tirelessly about [university sports] corruption.

University Diaries. Hosted by Margaret Soltan, professor of English at George Washington University. Boy is she pissed — mostly about athletics and funding, the usual scandals — but also about distance learning and diploma mills. She likes poems too. And she sings.
Dissent: The Blog

[UD belittles] Mrs. Palin's degree in communications from the University of Idaho...
The Wall Street Journal

Professor Margaret Soltan, blogging at University Diaries... provide[s] an important voice that challenges the status quo.
Lee Skallerup Bessette, Inside Higher Education

[University Diaries offers] the kind of attention to detail in the use of language that makes reading worthwhile.
Sean Dorrance Kelly, Harvard University

Margaret Soltan's ire is a national treasure.
Roland Greene, Stanford University

The irrepressibly to-the-point Margaret Soltan...
Carlat Psychiatry Blog

Margaret Soltan, whose blog lords it over the rest of ours like a benevolent tyrant...
Perplexed with Narrow Passages

Margaret Soltan is no fan of college sports and her diatribes on the subject can be condescending and annoying. But she makes a good point here...
Outside the Beltway

From Margaret Soltan's excellent coverage of the Bernard Madoff scandal comes this tip...
Money Law

University Diaries offers a long-running, focused, and extremely effective critique of the university as we know it.
Anthony Grafton, American Historical Association

The inimitable Margaret Soltan is, as usual, worth reading. ...
Medical Humanities Blog

I awake this morning to find that the excellent Margaret Soltan has linked here and thereby singlehandedly given [this blog] its heaviest traffic...
Ducks and Drakes

As Margaret Soltan, one of the best academic bloggers, points out, pressure is mounting ...
The Bitch Girls

Many of us bloggers worry that we don’t post enough to keep people’s interest: Margaret Soltan posts every day, and I more or less thought she was the gold standard.
Tenured Radical

University Diaries by Margaret Soltan is one of the best windows onto US university life that I know.
Mary Beard, A Don's Life

[University Diaries offers] a broad sense of what's going on in education today, framed by a passionate and knowledgeable reporter.
More magazine, Canada

If deity were an elected office, I would quit my job to get her on the ballot.
Notes of a Neophyte