“She didn’t want to see or hear our disagreement, so she decided not to join the party. Her choice. She has access to muffled rooms that silence our analysis on a daily basis and has chosen not to leave them.”

True, when Brown University students (and others) called foul on Ruth Simmons’ activities on the board of Goldman Sachs (under her watch, “the company which invented the $68.5 million CEO bonus”) she totally refused to engage her critics. As the writer I quote in my headline suggests, she’s used to the muffled rooms of America’s top corporate suites; why should she descend from those to the larger democratic community of dissent?

… Oh, whoops. The writer is referring not to Ruth Simmons, who to this day has said nothing about the Blankfein Bonuses she rubber-stamped, but to muffled, fearful Christine Lagarde, a dame who’s got absolutely nothing to say. Go to YouTube and search her name. Nothing.


Now that Christine Lagarde has decided that Smith College is too silly for words, quite a number of faculty are expressing their embarrassment.

My prior post about the curious business of choosing a capitalist tool (Smith has chosen to replace Lagarde with “snowed by Lloyd” Simmons) over one of the world’s most powerful and admired women is here.

More on Smith and Lagarde.

[See this post for background.]

Smith College graduates will be deprived of the thoughts of Christine Lagarde, chief of the International Monetary Fund. She withdrew this week, under pressure from people who object to the I.M.F.’s role in the “strengthening of imperialist and patriarchal systems.” So, one of the world’s most powerful women will not share insights with one of the nation’s most prominent women’s colleges because of a concern about patriarchy. Evil men — that’ll show ’em.

Instead of Lagarde, the intrepid people at Smith will get arguably the most parochial speaker available: An ex-president of their own school. As for her advice on resisting patriarchy: Be Lloyd Blankfein’s toady…?


State U.

“Ruth J. Simmons, a former president of Smith and of Brown University, will take Ms. Lagarde’s place as the speaker.”

Instead of the evil head of the IMF (Christine Lagarde is also “the first woman to lead a global law firm, [and the first] to be the finance minister of a major industrial country.” She is, as well, a top candidate for head of the European Commission and is talked about as a viable candidate for president of France.), Smith College will get as its commencement speaker the woman who, as a member of the Goldman Sachs “scandal-prone” board, approved Lloyd Blankfein’s notorious multimillion dollar bonuses. (“There’s no indication in [a recent Simmons] interview that Simmons takes her fiduciary responsibilities to Goldman’s shareholders particularly seriously,” wrote Felix Salmon of Simmons’ embarrassing, “snowed by Lloyd,” tenure.) They will get the woman who was rewarded for that approval by getting paid

$323,539 [in 2009] for her work on the [Goldman Sachs] board… [She] will soon leave her position at Goldman with stock that is currently worth about $4.3 million. That was on top of her salary at Brown, which was $576,000 [in 2010].

Yes, the protest against Christine Lagarde has worked! The witch is dead; three cheers for Dorothy.

“Who would call an investment bank based in Bethlehem ‘Jesus Ltd’? Who would dedicate a shooting range in Delhi to Gandhi?”

And who would name a luxury hotel Hotel Gramsci?


Well, but there is a bank called Institute for the Works of Religion, and another one called Banco Espírito Santo… There’s a Stalin hotel… (Watch a breezy all-American take on Uncle Joe here.)

There’s something about the state of Alaska that seems to encourage misbehavior…

… on the part of high-ranking university officials. And university priests.

There was the plagiarizing dean at one of the U Alaska campuses. One of his jobs was handling student plagiarism cases. No investigation was ever done. He just, uh, left.

Now there’s the naughty University of Alaska Fairbanks Catholic priest. Father Thomson, stopped by police while speeding his drug-laden, weapons-packed pickup around town, hit the trifecta… No, the quadfecta:

DUI, refusal to take to a chemical alcohol test, drugs misconduct and two counts of weapons misconduct for both possessing a firearm while intoxicated and failing to immediately inform troopers he was carrying a firearm.

Hold on.

No, that’s the cinquefecta.

Splenetic in the Grass

Illinois State University President Timothy Flanagan resigned Saturday after just seven months in the job.

Authorities are investigating a claim that Flanagan hit a former campus employee during an argument…

The complaint against Flanagan accuses him of assaulting a former employee while complaining about the care of the lawn at the university-owned president’s residence.

Then-superintendent of grounds R. Patrick Murphy claimed that Flanagan’s saliva hit him in the face, that Flanagan’s arm hit his torso and that Flanagan yelled at him on Dec. 5 outside the home, according to a police report.

Murphy told police he was supervising a crew working on the lawn when Flanagan ran out of the house and complained about the work.

“According to a March 2012 police report, [David] Dismukes crashed his car into the car of a process server who said Dismukes was attempting to avoid being served a subpoena in connection with his 2012 study.”

Whoa. What? A university professor is being served a subpoena because of his research, and he rams the server’s car?

Let’s try and unpack this…

Back in ’12 you find this article, in which an economist dumps all over a paper Dismukes (a director of Louisiana State University’s Center for Energy Studies) wrote. The paper purports to demonstrate that so-called legacy lawsuits, where individuals sue oil companies for damage they may have done to their land, cost citizens of Louisiana “30,000 jobs and $1.5 billion in wages over the past eight years.” The paper is waved all over the state by the oil companies as they seek to make it more difficult for people to file these sorts of lawsuits.

Testifying in front of the state legislature on the question of amending filing procedures, the economist, W. Ed Whitelaw, said:

[T]he analysis omits a relevant variable. Dismukes included data from 2005 and 2006, when the Louisiana energy industry was battered by two hurricanes, and stops his analysis in 2007.

“He fails to mention Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Rita anywhere in the report,” Whitelaw said.

“In our opinion, the Dismukes document fails to meet … professional standards. And this failure matters to the degree that the Dismukes document is fatally flawed, both theoretically and empirically. Nowhere does Dr. Dismukes present a coherent economic model linking legacy lawsuits and decisions to drill in Louisiana.”

Ah c’mon. Just a couple itty bitty hurricanes…

And turns out not only do the oil people really like this study; it’s their study.

Dismukes’ emails, obtained through a public records request by the state and the Vermilion Parish School Board, show a study he authored in 2012 used data given to him by Exxon Mobil, distorted facts to support his thesis and purposely concealed oil companies’ involvement in his research… The emails show the involvement of the Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corporation in Dismukes’ research, and he said in an email given to The Daily Reveille that he was under pressure to produce the report. In another email, he said he wasn’t sure how he would “fess-up” to where some of the information used in his study came from because it was provided by an oil company.

If the server comes at Dismukes again, will he ram again? Stay tuned.

‘Earlier this month, for instance, the Dushanbe mayor’s office announced it would begin monitoring music in taxis and on public buses to prevent passengers from listening to tunes that are “alien to national and universal human values.”’

Tajikistan wigs out.

Between Men: Conservative Literature and …

Male Homosocial Desire.

To paraphrase …

Freud, the sexual thought of adult Republicans is a dark continent for psychology.


Josh Marshall on the GOP welcoming women back inside its big tent:

Coming off [Mike] Huckabee’s comments this morning about incentivizing horny women with birth control, Rep. Louis Gohmert says government tries to “lure” single moms into “servitude” with welfare…

‘War on Women? Please. We’re the Ones Who Respect You for Not Being Sluts!’ …

“Reinharz’s compensation came into the spotlight after a Nov. 18 Globe article revealed that Reinharz has earned at least $1.2 million for part-time advisory work since stepping down as president at the end of 2010.”

Inept, hotheaded Jehuda Reinharz, during his tenure as president of Brandeis University, threatened to sue a magazine for writing something he didn’t like, tried to shut down the campus museum, and presided over an alarming shrinkage in the university’s endowment.

Brandeis believes that advice from this sort of person – part-time advice – is worth $1.2 million to a cash-strapped university.

You have to go back to Henry Kissinger to account for…

cet obscur objet du désir.

Keeping Up With…

… Cormac McCarthy’s third ex-wife.

The Uses of Massive University Endowments.

Why does Yale need to accumulate $20.8 billion?

Things like the Constance Bagley story are one reason. A contract-to-contract business school professor who’s been canned (she was apparently told she’d get another five year appointment if she did okay, and she seems to have done okay) has sued the school and three professors for age and gender discrimination. She’s an impressive person, apparently a good teacher and scholar, and she’ll probably force a large settlement out of the place.

But Yale (which has weathered very high-profile sexual misconduct problems lately) can afford such suits because of that massive endowment.

The bottom line is that whatever programs see themselves protecting (a certain intellectual orientation, a certain culture, whatever) by expelling people who don’t fit in can continue to be protected because the school will pay through the nose when those people sue.

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