Yeshiva University Retains its Financial Stability.

Although unfortunately in Yeshiva’s case, this means its appalling Moody’s rating – B3 – is affirmed as unchanged.

In the wake of expensive scandal after expensive scandal, some of it having to do with the fallout of the sort of conflict of interest you get when your virtually all-male, all-buddy board of trustees has its fingers in each others’ hedge funds (I’m looking at you, Bernie Madoff and Ezra Merkin), Yeshiva threatens to collapse as a viable financial entity, which Moody’s couldn’t help noticing.

Given the severity of deficits and limited liquidity, the university may exhaust liquidity before completing a restructuring of the organization.

On the up side, Yeshiva’s president, who so far has dealt with the Madoff scandal, the conflicted board of trustees scandal, and the financial collapse by literally trying to airbrush Madoff from Yeshiva history, ignoring alumni begging him to alter the board of trustees, and denying any financial difficulties at the school, has finally decided to drop a hint or two of trouble.

In a recent interview with The Commentator, a Y.U. student newspaper, [Richard] Joel blamed the university’s deficits on a “lack of effective and adequate reporting and controls.”

… He added that some department heads lied about the financial health of their departments.

Well, when the head of your school can sometimes be less than forthcoming, you’re likely to conclude that you can … dance around a little bit too…

“He treated that mikvah like a car wash.”

Powering up the shaft at Kesher Israel.

Guess you can throw a Hail Mary Pass in basketball too.

Football, basketball. Things are getting desperate.

I thank God I have the opportunity to be here and to work along a Hall of Fame coach like coach Williams.

What the hell. Might work.

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.

“[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.

“But the real reason I’ll be cheering is because, at a certain level, I’ll have done what you need to do to be a college sports fan these days: adopt the mentality of a 7-year-old—blissfully unaware of the rot that exists just beyond the field of play.”

Lord help me I know I shouldn’t watch these poor fuckers on the field but I can’t help it. Dear God…

Yet another anguished confession from a guy announcing his impending self-lobotomy in preparation for the University of North Carolina’s next basketball game.

UD has been collecting such confessions. There are so many. I know I have to be a moral degenerate and a cretin to watch these university-sponsored events, but sweet Jesus I cannot stop myself. Pretty much every guy with a keyboard is acknowledging to the world the failure of his efforts to rebuke the satanic rot of big-time university football and basketball.

I-have-sinned-wise, the industry standard is of course Brother Jimmy, whose weakness was the ladies. But Satan’s as hard at work on the basketball court as he is in the house of ill-repute, and UD is disappointed to see so many men give up the fight for their souls before it’s really gotten started.

Barry Freundel, Yeshiva University Grad and Yeshiva University …

faculty member, brings yet more notoriety to that notorious campus, home of Bernard Madoff, Ezra Merkin, Zygi Wilf, and a whole cast of other conflict-of-interest-mad characters. Yeshiva University has for some time been American academia’s highest-producer when it comes to both sexual and financial scandal, and now, with the ribald rabbi and his radio, the school is definitely maintaining its record.

***********************

But then Modern Orthodoxy just seems to roll that way.

If the allegations against Freundel are true, they confirm the worst suspicions about the status of women in Orthodoxy: that the all-male rabbinical clubs support their own members in their efforts to control women’s bodies all the time. Freundel, after all, is suspected of using his authority to grab what he wanted from unsuspecting women.

… The award-winning film “A Tale of a Woman and a Robe,” by the Israeli filmmaker Nurit Jacobs Yinon, painfully demonstrates how the experiences of female converts in the mikvah violate their most basic dignity. Three male rabbis watch every woman dunk in the water, as she is naked except for a robe or sheet separating her skin from the rabbis’ eyes. Some rabbis interviewed in the film — including the Israeli modern Orthodox rabbis David Stav and Beni Lau — admit that this practice is humiliating for women, but describe their own helplessness in changing the practice.

… So did Orthodoxy make Freundel a sex offender? Not directly. But it enabled him. Orthodoxy creates an awfully comfortable place for men with sexist and misogynistic predilections and is built around a tight posse of men willing to support each other no matter what the crime.

Same tight posse of men works the Yeshiva University financial magic.

America Worships Violent Men.

Maybe all cultures do. I don’t know. But I know my culture enshrines its most violent men as heroes even in universities. The hero at the University of Nebraska was and is Richie Incognito. They’re proud to say he chose them and they nurtured him before he went on to his celebrated professional career. Texas A&M, Johnny Manziel. The reigning hero at Florida State University is Jameis Winston.

Icky scary hyped-up babies – the highest-profile, most esteemed, representatives of America’s universities.

But here’s what I love about my country. (I love many things about my country. Here’s one in particular.) It knows it’s ridiculous, and if you push the deification-of-shits thing a little too far, the country will push back.

The idiots at FSU so worship their icks that they don’t understand this. They don’t understand that you need to keep the icky reality of the icks blurry so that America doesn’t have to look at them directly. If you decide to fashion a huge social media campaign around unmediated ick-deification… If you actually solicit questions the American people are panting to ask their baby buddhas about life…

A Florida State social media campaign turned ugly Sunday when the university’s athletic department opened its Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback to nationwide mockery.

The department attempted to engage fans on Twitter by soliciting questions to be used for a video on the team website.

The hashtag “#AskJameis” became a trending topic on Twitter for a time Sunday — for all the wrong reasons.

… The tweets covered a wide range from witty to malicious. Most were aimed at Winston, but others questioned why the university would risk this type of response.

One post read: “Do you know that you have to Buy One to get One Free at Publix [Super Markets]?”

Another read: “Who gave you better protection last year — your offensive line or the TPD?”

TPD is shorthand for the Tallahassee Police Department.

Oh Jameis King of the Library Tell Us! Shed Upon Us Thy Everlasting Light!

*************************

So here’s a helpful hint to the FSU public relations people for next time.

Remember Bagehot on the British royalty.

A secret prerogative is an anomaly — perhaps the greatest of anomalies. That secrecy is, however, essential to the utility of English royalty as it now is. Above all things our royalty is to be reverenced, and if you begin to poke about it you cannot reverence it. When there is a select committee on the Queen, the charm of royalty will be gone. Its mystery is its life. We must not let in daylight upon magic.

The secret to maintaining the American university’s royalty is this subtle work of obfuscation. Would you ask Queen Elizabeth to take part in a Twitter campaign? The more you poke Winston the less he will be reverenced. Do not let daylight in upon him.

(Remember: If our reporters had followed this no-poking policy, Americans would be free to continue worshipping Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods. Keep it blurry.)

Football Mass.

At Notre Dame, Touchdown Jesus scores the biggest touchdown of his life.

Their Eyes Were Watching Godzillatron

Football is a religion, they say, and its god, these days, is the Godzillatron, the Adzillatron, the Jumbotron… like the deity, this massive high definition video screen with massive advertisements screaming at you from the moment you enter the stadium to the moment you leave, goes by many names…

Ever since 2009, when the University of Texas got the first one in the country, dozens of other American universities have gotten their own monster video display. The one proposed for a new stadium at the University of Nevada Las Vegas will run the entire length of the field.

What’s strange about the massively expensive Adzillatron is that everyone hates it; and indeed many people point to it as contributing in an important way to the emptying out of the university stadium. Where’d everyone go? Why are many students – even at places like the University of Alabama - not going to the games, or going but leaving early? Tons of explanations have been offered, but UD thinks that the phenomenon of the Godzillatron, while only part of the answer, is an illuminating focal point for any discussion of the terrific fiasco for which contemporary American university football is headed. Of course one has to toss into the too-disgusted-to-attend mix all the scandals – criminal, hemorrhagic, sexual, academic – plus all the overpaid coaches and castrated presidents blahblah… But the heart of university football is the stadium experience, and if that experience had been able to retain a shred of authenticity, the fiasco might have been averted.

Here’s what happens at a [Mississippi State] football game these days: 3rd & 7, we’re on defense, tie game, offense calls timeout. [Colubus Ortho Harlem shake, Kiss cam]. Everyone’s attention is drawn to the jumbotron, away from focusing on the task at hand – getting our defense pumped to stop the other team!

I don’t need a bunch of distractions. I’m there to watch a football game.

***********************************

[University of] Michigan football fans don’t just love football. They love Michigan football — the history, the traditions, the rituals — the timeless elements that have grown organically over decades. They are attracted to the belief that Michigan football is based on ideals that go beyond the field, do not fade with time, and are passed down to the next generation — the very qualities that separate a game at the Big House from the Super Bowl.

After the 2013 Notre Dame game, [our Athletic Director] said, “You’re a 17-18 year old kid watching the largest crowd in the history of college football with airplanes flying over and Beyonce introducing your halftime show? That’s a pretty powerful message about what Michigan is all about, and that’s our job to send that message.”

Is that really what Michigan is all about? Fly-overs, blaring rock music and Beyonce? Beyonce is to Michigan football what Bo Schembechler is to — well, Beyonce. No, Michigan is all about lifelong fans who’ve been coming together for decades to leave a bit of the modern world behind — and the incessant marketing that comes with it — and share an authentic experience fueled by the passion of the team, the band and the students. That’s it.

************************

Coach says: Thou shalt have no other Godzillatrons before me. Narcotic simulacral standardized screen gigantism is the heart of the postmodern doctrine being preached… Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled… But keep thine eye upon the Godzillatron which I have given to you and thine lip upon the fruit of the vine which also I have given unto you, and rest in the arms of the Lord forever… And yet in their ornery unpredictable way Americans are beginning to break away from the faith. They seem to be experiencing it as inauthentic. Not the true faith.

The Book of Mormon…

… and the university professor.

“Academic freedom is not sacrosanct. […] It too must submit to God in a Christian college.”

A touch of Iran. Right here in the US of A.

What’s the …

diff?

‘Trustees expressed reservation, however, about turning its athletic facilities into a “price list.” Trustee Finis St. John IV suggested that some sort of oversight be established that would include the naming opportunity to be approved by the athletic director and/or university president. “Someone could create some mischief,” St. John said. “We don’t need to have it as a price list. There needs to be some level of approval on this and on the naming rights, that they be appropriate.”’

Everything’s for sale at the University of Alabama, including the opportunity to have your name appear in the chancel itself, Nick Saban’s most sacred private place.

Gilead Inc.

The nitty gritty on compensation starts on page 27 of Gilead’s proxy document. Its compensation mix for Gilead’s executive group is skewed towards equity awards that are over 200% of base salary and annual bonus opportunity. On page 34 it’s noted that Gilead’s CEO John Martin took home more than $90 million making him one of the 10 highest paid CEO’s in the country. His 5-year compensation exceeded $250 million, top man in the pharma sector. Generous options and stock grants fueled by marked equity appreciation in Gilead told the story.

**************************

There is no qualm in Gilead
To make the top man whole;
There is no qualm in Gilead
To heal the CEO.

Sovaldi costs a thousand
Martin’s work is not in vain,
He took that balm in Gilead
And made it pay and pay.

There is no qualm in Gilead
To make the top man whole;
There is no qualm in Gilead
To heal the CEO.

If I can’t earn like Martin
If I can’t take his take home
Then take me home to Jesus,
And say I died alone.

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