Headline of the Day.

The FBI’s Files on Camus and Sartre Confirm the Utter Meaninglessness of It All

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[S]tarting in 1945 and 1946, the FBI kept tabs on famed philosophers and authors Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, in hopes of discovering whether existentialism and absurdism were just communism in disguise… While existentialism and absurdism were subversive theories, in their way, they never posed any imminent or long-term harm to America, unless you consider a rise in the number of pretentious comp lit grad students to be a threat to national security.

And speaking of Syracuse University…

… (see the post directly below this one), its highest-profile honorary degree recipient, its 2010 commencement speaker, has been running one hell of a public relations campaign. Ask me anything! Ask my bank anything!

These are some of the tweets J.P. Morgan received (before hurriedly shutting the account):

“What’s your favorite type of whale? #AskJPM,” said The Atlantic’s Matt O’Brien.

“Is your “Chief Compliance Officer” alive? Has anyone checked to see if he’s in his office? #AskJPM,” said Salon’s David Dayen.

“Does Jamie Dimon pet a small cat and laugh ominously while he’s ruining poor people’s lives? #AskJPM,” said blogger Tim Donovan.

Some others:

Did you have a specific number of people’s lives you needed to ruin before you considered your business model a success?

If it came out Jamie Dimon had a propensity for eating Irish children, would you fire him? What if he’s still “a good earner”?

Is it the ability to throw anyone out of their home that drives you, or just the satisfaction that you know you COULD do it?

How many homeless people did you create in ’08?

Will the firm explore new markets, like selling candy-backed securities to babies w/o disclosing the lack of chocolate in the bonds?

Did you not realize that The Smartest Guys In The Room was a cautionary tale, not a blueprint for mass theft?

Sure. There’s more.

Quick! You’re in a room with no key, a chair, two paper clips, and a lightbulb. How do you defraud investors?

Sorry we ruined your hashtag event, if you could just apologise for your plunder of the global economy, I think we’d be even.

Given the # of reg violations + scale of fines paid across the bank, please explain why the board hasn’t been replaced by livestock?

Enough already!

What’s it like working with Mexican drug cartels? Do they tip?

How do you decide who to foreclose on? Darts or a computer program?

As a young sociopath, how can I succeed in finance?

And:

why did u think this would be a good idea

If you, like UD, love puns, you gotta admit that these posters appearing on university campuses in Virginia…

… are kind of fun.

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This is pretty funny too. After the anchors announce that the posters are too obscene for tv, the filmed segment brandishes them in every shot.

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Background on Cuccinelli’s campaign against oral sex here and here.

The Mind of the South…

… as the title of that great book had it, is a real mystery. But one thing UD can conclude from following universities like Ole Miss is that the whole idea of democracy doesn’t seem to have penetrated very far. There was the state rep who in 2011 introduced Mississippi House Bill 1106:

AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-115-1, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972,
1 TO PROVIDE THAT THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI SHALL BEAR THE
2 NICKNAME “OLE MISS REBELS”; TO PROVIDE THAT THE UNIVERSITY’S
3 MASCOT SHALL BE “COLONEL REBEL”; TO REQUIRE THAT THE UNIVERSITY’S
4 BAND SHALL PLAY “DIXIE” AND “FROM DIXIE WITH LOVE” AT HOME AND
5 AWAY FOOTBALL AND BASKETBALL GAMES AT WHICH THE BAND, OR SOME
6 PORTION OF THE BAND, IS PRESENT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

YOU VILL PLAY DIXIE OR ELSE, YOU HEAR?

And now there’s the letter just sent to all Physical Plant employees by the Director of said plant, in which he excoriates an employee who was found to have been rooting, electronically, for LSU during an Ole Miss/LSU football game. See, you’re in Mississippi. Ain’t none of your high and mighty “free speech” here…

[T]he posted [pro LSU] comments have been viewed negatively by the administration and have brought into question the individual making the comments and his ability to make sound and wise decisions.

Oh, and another thing.

[U]nder no circumstances should an employee don any clothing while on the clock that is not reflective of support for the University of Mississippi.

Bit of linguistic ambiguity there, eh? Can you just, uh, wear clothing? Or is every day on the clock an adventure in Ole Miss worship?

Anyway. If you’re on the Old Miss campus, just check this UD post for what you can sing, wear, and say.

On the up side – You can drink anything.

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UD thanks Marcie.

‘She said she’d never heard of a squirrel eating a mountain bike.’

Squirrels are always gnawing at UD‘s terracotta pots (she’s heard two theories: they like the salty taste, and they’re whittling down their long teeth)… In Iowa, a squirrel has been eating a math professor’s bicycle.

Ha-

-pseud.

UD Does a Double Take

The name of the firm doing the pumping for the new science building project across from UD‘s office is Putzmeister.

When their credit rating sinks all the way down to Baa1, self-respecting universities…

… lose their president.

And then there’s Yeshiva.

Cruz

This sort of feedback loop of ever-more-extreme political purity tests is a familiar enough phenomenon. First, you identify a demon, and spend a few years whipping up a hysterical frenzy over the threat it poses. You want to tie it to a few key words that you can repeat in a derogatory, contemptuous tone of voice, over and over, until the very signifier evokes such a feeling of loathing in your audience that anyone associated with it is contaminated. Let’s call it Thing X. Now, most people will think your goal here is to drum up a successful campaign against Thing X and against your opponents, who support it, but this is at most part of the mission. Thing X itself may or may not be terribly important, and your opponents are your opponents; there’s not much you can do about them. What is crucial here, though, is that once you’ve firmly established your followers’ revulsion towards Thing X, you can use it to annihilate your “allies”—also known as “rivals”—by accusing them of insufficient vigilance against Thing X.

The Making of a Tea-Partier

You can thank Ted Cruz here, for standing up against the country’s elites.

You can read about his populism here.

As a law student at Harvard, [Senator Ted Cruz] refused to study with anyone who hadn’t been an undergrad at Harvard, Princeton, or Yale. Says Damon Watson, one of Cruz’s law-school roommates: “He said he didn’t want anybody from ‘minor Ivies’ like Penn or Brown.”

Immanuel Kant was a real pissant who was very rarely …

stable.

Or not.

Kleptoversity…

… might do as a name for the ever-in-the-process-of-being-robbed-blind University of Louisville. Medicare fraud is one thing; Louisville does that too, but so does everyone else. Louisville’s claim to fame is an incredible amount of employee theft. UD detailed a little of it in this post, and now there’s more.

The Internal Revenue Service says the executive director of a medical department at the University of Louisville wrote checks to himself possibly in excess of $2 million since 2007.

Perry “Chad” Vaughn, who oversees the school’s Department of Family & Geriatric Medicine, is due in federal court on Monday after federal prosecutors obtained a preliminary injunction to prevent him from spending any of the funds. The IRS says the money came from the department and affiliated medical practices.

You know, when you get on the Washington DC metro, a nice lady announces that if you don’t want to get your electronics stolen, you shouldn’t sit near an exit door using them openly, etc., etc. Maybe the University of Louisville (which also has its hands full with athletic scandals) should try a similar system of public announcements.

And it’s only the …

fourth dumbest state.

Twenty-eight percent [of Louisiana Republicans] said they think former President George W. Bush, who was in office at the time, was more responsible for the poor federal response while 29 percent said Obama, who was still a freshman U.S. Senator when the storm battered the Gulf Coast in 2005, was more responsible.

Get ready for the guy to claim a mental illness.

It’s the only card he has left to play. Even then, it’s not a good one, since he’ll have to claim decades of mental illness.

This would be Emory law school professor Michael J. Broyde, object of multiple in-depth accounts – here – of his very odd behavior. Emory is already reviewing him for having made up internet identities whose function appears to be flacking his own work and excoriating that of competitors (à la the so-far more famous Orlando Figes). This is, to be sure, puerile and malicious of Broyde, and it seems to have put an end to his other career as a religious bigwig.

But there’s more, and with it we enter Woody Allen territory.

Apparently Broyde created another online identity, this one with the purpose of providing historical evidence for various of his theological arguments.

The second identity, claiming to be an 80-something Ivy League graduate and Talmud scholar in 2010, alleged he’d had conversations with now long-dead sages in the late 1940s or early 1950s. The alleged conversations were used to produce a manufactured history of statements from long-dead scholars that buttressed an argument that Broyde had made in a highly-touted article published in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal. Broyde, in a later publication, subsequently quoted this second identity’s alleged findings as further proof of his original argument.

To puerile and malicious, add – if true – academic fraud.

This man was reportedly a finalist for grand rabbi of London.

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UD thanks Tzvee.

‘When the school again didn’t alert students to evacuate, Bruni’s students became upset and she used that as an excuse to cancel the “Health and Illness” class herself, police said.’

Surrealistic layering, I guess you’d call it, in this story involving a grad student scheduled to teach a course called Health and Illness who is herself so unwell that rather than meet the class she phoned in bomb threats to empty the building.

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