‘In applying this excise tax to nonprofit executives, the Ways and Means Committee Majority Tax Staff also raised the idea in its summary that highly paid nonprofit executives actually divert resources from exempt purposes. It states that exemption from federal income tax is a significant benefit for tax-exempt organizations, making the case for discouraging excess compensation paid out to such organizations’ executives perhaps even stronger than it is for publicly traded companies.’

Zzzz… wha’?

How bout this.

In fact, an analysis of Forms 990 for approximately 100,000 organizations filing the annual report to the IRS in 2014 published recently by the Wall Street Journal found 2,700 nonprofit officials were paid more than $1 million. Although most were administrators at hospitals and universities, there were also many football coaches and executives at endowments like the Harvard Management Company. Nonprofit organizations respond that they are trying to attract the best candidates and are merely adopting compensation practices similar to those in the private sector.



Do I need to spell it out for you? Do you see what’s happening here?

You want to spend your kid’s tuition money on sky-rocketing multimillion dollar salaries for coaches and on twenty million a dollar a year compensation for university money managers, and here comes the IRS to tell you that these aren’t appropriate non-profit expenditures! They even have the gall to say that giving all that money to coaches and money managers diverts tax-exempt money from students and shit! Whatever that means.

So they’re putting a crushing new tax on excess non-profit compensation, which means universities are likely to pull back on these amounts and you will have to pay the managers and coaches less.


I know. So far this is all numbers and abstractions. Here is an actual story, from the University of Kentucky, of how it will be.

“The excise tax that was levied in the new tax bill is big,” [UK athletic director Mitch] Barnhart said. “That will have an impact on every athletic department.”

A change in the tax code requires non-profit entities to pay a 21 percent excise tax on payments to its five highest-paid employees that are making more than $1 million a year.

For every dollar over the $1 million mark, UK must pay the 21 percent tax, which for UK Athletics includes the salaries of men’s basketball coach John Calipari, football coach Mark Stoops and women’s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell.

According to figures reported to the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2017, Calipari was the highest-paid person on campus that year at $7.24 million, followed by Stoops at $3.9 million and Mitchell at $1.28 million.

The university also will be paying the excise tax on the salaries of Phillip Tibbs ($1,195,600), a physician, and Michael Karpf ($1,123,179), who ran the medical center until recently, UK spokesman Jay Blanton told the Herald-Leader.

With the new salary bump and potential bonuses outlined in the new amendment to Barnhart’s contract, the UK athletics director might top the $1 million mark in the near future. His base salary will be $1,025,000 starting in 2020, per the amendment.

This year’s figures were a part of the $147.7 million dollar 2019 budget approved by the university’s Board of Trustees recently, simply noted as “escalating operating expenses.”

How will these escalating expenses be paid? The same way other expenses are.

“How we make up for it on the other side is really difficult,” Barnhart said. “We have to work at that.”

I know you can do it, guys! A grassroots campaign of outraged professors, students, and parents will take to the streets and have that punitive 21% rolled back before you can say Nick Saban.

So many themes converge in today’s big story about bribery at the University of Pennsylvania that one hardly knows where to start.

But let’s start with an April ceremony at another school: the University of Miami. There much fuss was made about the stellar, the great and the good Morris Esformes, who endowed a chair in medicine at UM.

At one point in the write-up, mention is made of another Morris Esformes chair in medicine, this one at the University of Chicago. But when Esformes’ son and nursing home business partner, Philip, was arrested for having run the largest health-related fraud in US history (he’s still in jail two years later, awaiting trial), the U of C seems to have decided it didn’t want a chair with the name Esformes on it anymore; the most recent recipient was suddenly and without comment renamed Louis Block.


Incidental among the many crimes sonny is alleged to have committed was the bribery of a high-profile basketball coach at the University of Pennsylvania. The bribery was on behalf of sonny’s own little whippersnapper, Morris the Second, who, according to a report, got into Penn on said coach’s recommendation – the kid was a great basketball player, see, and it had nothing to do with the $74,000 in payments Philip made to the coach on the kid’s behalf.

Did the kid ever play on Penn’s team? Nooooo you silly reader…..

Admissions fraud, Medicare fraud, Medicaid fraud, NCAA fraud… This one’s got it all.

Jim Jordan wrestles with…

left side high crotch.

“A requirement that spectators have their faces uncovered is not to force anyone to act immodestly,” [the judge] said. “First, the exposure of one’s face in a courtroom cannot reasonably be viewed as an immodest act: subjective views to the contrary cannot rule the day, or the management of a courtroom. Second, if someone feels strongly that it would be improper for them to uncover their face in court, they can choose not to attend.”

Gradually, in large ways and small, the institutions of liberal democracies affirm themselves.

Houston, a very dangerous city…

… now has a very high-profile homicide.

‘the beard the flames the tears the stones so blue so calm alas alas on on the skull the skull the skull the skull in Connemara in spite of the tennis the labours abandoned left unfinished graver still abode of stones’

Robin Williams’ first editions are available at Sotheby’s.



FGM “barbaric” – Australia

[Citizenship Minister Alan] Tudge warned Australia was veering towards a “European separatist multicultural model” and must do more to ensure the integration of migrants.

He had called for the nation to mount a “muscular” ­defence of Western liberal values and challenge the rise of identity politics, which was legitimising “practices and behaviours which should be deemed intolerable” …

“Hence, it takes years for some Western countries to even take a strong position against something as barbaric as female genital mutilation,” he said.

In his speech, Mr Tudge said we needed to pull “our ship back” to be firmly on the “Australian integrated path”.

“Some of the challenges to social cohesion that we are facing today are similar to ones that the UK is facing, such as ethnic segregation and liberal values being challenged.”

Shout out right back to The Electron…

Pencil, which features (scroll down)

George Washington University English professor Margaret Soltan [who] 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.

UD just knew there’d be a detective named Killingsworth.

It’s too good a last name for a murder mystery writer to pass up, and one Kennedy Killingsworth stars in a series by Betsy Brannon Green.

Meanwhile UD‘s buddy Mark Killingsworth, an entirely actual econ professor at Rutgers, continues his real world, who-did-in-Rutgers-University, investigation in a series of opinion pieces in the NJ Star-Ledger.

Here, though, the mystery merely lies in the numbers — as in, how does Rutgers lie about the athletics deficits that are doing it in? — not in the reason the numbers have added up over the years to a current $47.4 million.

You can of course list particular things that have happened at the school. A commenter on Mark’s piece nicely describes one part of the deal in this way:

[It’s the old] wash/rinse/repeat cycle. Hire expensive coaches. Give them extensions which are not warranted. Coaches under perform, teams are terrible, fire/buy them out and then repeat.

Or, in Mark’s words:

[A]thletics deficit spending makes bigger deficits and lots of embarrassments, including personnel decisions that led to four athletics directors in nine years, three football coaches in seven years and over $9 million in severance pay.

But as to the larger mystery: No mystery at all. Put a bunch of unsupervised guys together, give them funny money, and WHEEEEEEE…

The Vector of Sadness

From an essay about Buddhism by Adam Gopnik:

Secularized or traditional, the central Buddhist epiphany remains essential: the fact of mortality makes loss certain. For all the ways in which science and its blessed godchild scientific medicine have reduced the overt suffering that a human life entails, the vector to sadness remains in place, as much as it did in the Buddha’s time. Gotama’s death, from what one doctor describes as mesenteric infarction, seems needlessly painful and gruesome by modern standards; this is the kind of suffering we can substantially alleviate. But the universal mortality of all beings—the fact that, if we’re lucky, we will die after seventy years or so—is not reformable. The larger problem we face is not suffering but sadness, and the sadness is caused by the fact of loss. To love less in order to lose less seems like no solution at all, but to see loss squarely sounds like wisdom. We may or may not be able to Americanize our Buddhism, but we can certainly ecumenicize our analgesics. Lots of different stuff from lots of different places which we drink and think and do can help us manage. Every faith practice has a different form of comfort to offer in the face of loss, and each is useful. Sometimes it helps to dwell on the immensity of the universe. Sometimes it helps to feel the presence of ongoing family and community. Sometimes it helps to light a candle and say a prayer. Sometimes it helps to sit and breathe.

‘Strauss’ behavior in the men’s locker room was particularly unusual and disturbing, the athlete said. He said Strauss was known for walking around the room naked, and that he also would read the newspaper naked nearby the drinking fountain. He would “linger and stare at your crotch,” the athlete said.’

There’s no surreal like big-time athletics surreal, but Ohio State University moves well past surreal all the way to dada. Its posthumously famous team doctor, Richard Strauss, has displaced the composer of Salome on Google’s search page now that there’s a big class-action suit from OSU wrestlers and others against the school that employed him for twenty years.

Despite plenty of evidence, apparently, that their players’ private parts provoked Strauss’s Merry Pranks, coaches and administrators at OSU took no action to stop the music. And because one of the people the players claim did nothing is now a congressman, the story’s getting a lot of play.

Scathing Online Schoolmarm Doffs her Hat to George F. Will.

It don’t get no more scathing than his instantly famous Washington Post column about you know who, post-Putin.

Let us consider why, amid two years of howling verbal shitstorms, it is Will and Will alone who has captured the attention of the world. What’s he got?

A strong, funny, opening sentence featuring an apt extended metaphor with alliteration and assonance (I’ve bolded the Ps and the long As):

America’s child president had a play date with a KGB alumnus, who surely enjoyed providing day care…

More put-down comedy:

Precision is not part of Trump’s repertoire. He speaks English as though it is a second language that he learned from someone who learned English last week.

You may recall this from the similar technique of Paul Krugman on the subject of Newt Gingrich:

A stupid man’s idea of what a smart person sounds like.

Merciless no-muss no-fuss direct statement:

Trump has a weak man’s banal fascination with strong men whose disdain for him is evidently unimaginable to him.

The winner-word here is banal – really cuts the dude down to size, as in Arendt’s unsparing banality of evil.

Even more — and bear with me here – when you couple a word dominated by the word anal with Uranus – a word NO ONE can read or speak without translating it into your anus – I think you also begin to… infer… Will having some real fun with the anomalous ass in the White House:

[J]ust as astronomers infer from anomalies in the orbit of the planet Uranus the existence of Neptune before actually seeing it, Mueller might infer and then find still hidden sources of the behavior of this sad embarrassing wreck of a man.

Even as[s]tronomers works for Will here as he uh bends over backwards NOT to say that the hidden source of Trump’s anxious Russophilia is long-rumored twisted sex play in a Moscow hotel, about which Putin knows…

Finally, Will knows how powerful iambic pentameter can be. As in:

this sad embarrassing wreck of a man.

The finely controlled language of his whole piece implicitly juxtaposes Will’s (and his assumed reader’s) calm Shakespearean maturity and Trump’s mad-hatter hauteur, and this final poetic line (still the well-deployed assonance: sad/embarrassing/man) is the quintessence of the basic move: crude content/elegant style. You recall how it works for Shakespeare:

Of this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen

In the rank sweat of an enseamèd bed

A poor, bare, forked animal as thou art

Like most really good writers, Will has learned from him.

As in all of the tragedies, the elevated language invokes a noble past and promises a noble future; but for now, words of contempt and hopeless pathos must in our phrases be enseamèd.

A Reader Sends UD this Wonderful Quote from the Head of a New Faculty Union at Financially Troubled University of Washington.

Pointing to a recent decision by the UW to hire a new vice provost and a dozen new business analysts to find ways to reduce costs, she said: “We seem to have more and more administrators, who are highly paid, whose job is to administer scarcity.”

Of course when it comes to the almost five million dollars a year UW’s football coach makes, it’s strictly hands-off.

‘The woman said she had put the gun on the baby changing table and went to use the restroom… When she got out, her child started running around and she forgot to retrieve the gun…’

Gun-mad Utah – there are municipalities there where you MUST keep guns – has done it again. Let’s see.

For those outside Utah’s batty-for-bullets culture, it’s not at all easy to get inside this special, universal-carry, littered-with-child-suicides, locale, but perhaps this will help: UD will take a few paragraphs from a local account of the baby changing table incident, and will autocorrect – Utahcorrect – the piece.

RUGER — The Salt and Ashes County District Attorney’s Office will review the case of a person who left a gun in a bathroom at the Dying Planet Automaticum.

A customer at the Automaticum left a revolver in the bathroom on Tuesday…

[The woman who brought the loaded gun into the no-weapons building] was very apologetic and embarrassed about leaving the gun in the bathroom… The woman said she had put the gun on the baby changing table and went to use the restroom… When she got out, her child started running around and she forgot to retrieve the gun…

Could happen to anyone! In Utah. Momma don’t go nowhere cepn she got her revolver nice and snug in her panties cuz you never know and folks is always trying to kill you specially in aquariums. But how do you drop em and do your business without your gun ploppin into the basin? Plus you got this kid runnin round!

Ah. Right across there in the stall – a nice soft white gun rest. Cradle it there real sweet while you pee and then… Lester? Lester what the hell are you doing? I can’t keep up with you …

And you know? I kinda remembered I dint have no gun as I was leaving the Automaticum but I was so busy with Lester and after all a nice bright loaded revolver is a kinda pay it forward thing… Like that new documentary is right you’re never too young to love a gun and it made me kinda happy thinking about the six-month old with a dirty nappy discovering the revolver and entering right then and there into the beautiful Utah way of life.

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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