Bad, bad, little boys! Put your heads down and shut up while I prepare the country…

…for President Warren.

Tea is always on the verge of making it really big in America.

UD is a tea freak (as faithful readers of her blog know), so she’s stood around watching for decades as people predict this country’s Big Tea Breakthrough. Here’s the latest on that, from a writer who went to a tea convention.

…The tech and gaming worlds have embraced tea as both a nerdy cool hobby and a type of a natural wonder drug to help with focus whilst on all-night coding/gaming soirees, and that has created a marketplace for a certain type of high-end buyer who didn’t exist before…

[At the convention,] I had tea made from the avocado leaves, and adaptogenic teas (“Big with endurance athletes!”) that contained CBD and turmeric, and white champagne raspberry tea, and a Belgium lemongrass chai tea and Kenyan purple tea, and red rooibos tea, and Lapsang Souchong black tea and Darjeeling black tea and Assam black tea and Ceylon black tea and moringa tea and Sri Lankan mango iced tea and “Got Nitro” iced tea slush, and something called “duck shit fragrance oolong,” which is a real thing. I had Psychic Teaz from a man named Dr. Brains (a name Oprah gave him, FYI) who used to travel with the Grateful Dead and other musicians in the ’70s to help them maintain their health while on long tours, and Lover Tea from Vietnam with a college-aged translator who told me it grows in craters made during American bombing missions during the Vietnam War, and Matcha Kaori tea blended with what looked like a shaving cream brush by Japanese tea farmer Kunikazu Mochitani…

Tea is the perfect cultural drink for right now. It has such a big tent — you can like it for the caffeine kick, or the rituals, or the scientific experiments in brewing time and temperature, or the cool hobbyist gear, or the Eastern religious undertones, or the dietary benefits, or matcha’s Instagram friendly coloring. You can like it because it separates you out, or pulls you into a new community, because it makes you feel simultaneously like an outsider and an insider. 

UD has sequential tea enthusiasms. Right now she’s mad for this, which as you can see she buys in bulk (through Amazon).

Makes excellent hot or iced tea (UD overwhelmingly drinks hot).

And, if you act now, I’ll throw in TWO twenty percent off discount coupons for High Holiday services 2020 at the synagogue of your choice!

The spiritual leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, Rabbi Shalom Cohen, has promised Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman and Blue and White co-chairman Yair Lapid the afterlife if they join a coalition with the ultra-Orthodox parties.

… “Liberman and Lapid, know that I do not hate anyone,” said [Shalom] Cohen at a ‘greet your rabbi’ event held by Shas in Jerusalem on Tuesday night. “I welcome everyone with love. I am certain that you did not intend to anger God, just the politicians, and the proof is that you have not been given the ability to form an evil government. I say here to Lapid and Liberman: if you now join a government with the ultra-Orthodox , you will merit a divine voice that will come forth [from Heaven] and declare ‘Liberman and Lapid are invited to the world to come.’”

Hey! Y’all come down now, y’hear?

In her testimony, [Fiona] Hill described her fears that Mr. Sondland represented a counterintelligence risk because his actions made him vulnerable to foreign governments who could exploit his inexperience. She said Mr. Sondland extensively used a personal cellphone for official diplomatic business and repeatedly told foreign officials they were welcome to come to the White House whenever they liked.

Ms. Hill said that his invitations, which were highly unusual and not communicated to others at the White House, prompted one instance in which Romanian officials arrived at the White House without appointments, citing Mr. Sondland.

America’s Favorite Appliance. And Child-Safe!

Once, I led a few special agents to retrieve several firearms from a local Philadelphia resident. We found one loaded firearm being used as a doorstop in his house. On another occasion, the resident had loaded firearms in every room and on almost every flat surface. Given the recent news stories of infants shooting mothers, themselves or other children, it’s clear that “common sense” laws must prevail.

Outraged at Judge Loretta Preska’s Ruling Against Him, Alan Dershowitz Countersues, Demanding Preska have her Genitals Mutilated.

Hell hath no fury like Harvard’s most famous professor scorned. Judge Preska has rejected Dershowitz’s hilarious claims about his right to savage to his heart’s content one of his buddy Jeffrey Epstein’s sex slaves; in response, this hero of the pro-female genital mutilation movement is reportedly calling on his grateful clients to have a go at Preska.


Jonathan Turley:

Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz once dared his accusers to sue him in the ongoing controversy over his role in the alleged abuse of underaged girls in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. One did just that. Virginia Giuffre has claimed that she was forced to have sex as an underaged girl with friends and acquaintances of Epstein, including Dershowitz. Dershowitz called her a liar on multiple occasions. She sued him for defamation and U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in New York has rejected Dershowitz’s motion to dismiss and held that Dershowitz will have to face a trial on her claims. Former judge Paul Cassell has also leveled charges against Dershowitz as one of the abusers.

… Dershowitz will now face a full trial that will focus on whether the allegations of his abuse of the underaged girl was clearly a lie. Truth is a defense to defamation, but that will require a full airing of the underlying allegations. It is the trial that Dershowitz had publicly called for but later sought to avoid through a motion to dismiss.

In the interest of full age disclosure…

UD has updated her old photo on her ABOUT page. Her sister, the Morrissey fanatic, took it two days ago at Summer House Santa Monica, North Bethesda. It reflects UD‘s true age as of this minute: 66.

She is wearing the scarf La Kid got her for her last birthday in Shenandoah National Park.

Wish she could say the photo shows her blogging. It shows her, lamely and very late in the game, trying to figure out how to take a selfie.

UD’s Congressional District: A Cut Above.

Her Representative, Jamie Raskin, calls Giuliani’s two Ukrainian … uh… associates… “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.”

UD‘s figuring most pols are going to go with Mutt and Jeff or Tom and Jerry or Tweedledum and Tweedledee. The 8th District does Shakespeare.

Bulgarian Soccer Fans. Not sure why everyone’s making such a fuss about them. You can see the same thing in Italian, French, German, Argentine, and dozens of other national stadiums.

This guy, and a lot of other commentators, are really upset about Bulgarian behavior against England the other night. People are screaming so hard about what looks to ol’ UD like routine racism and fascism in the stands that the head of Bulgarian soccer – who saw and heard nothing during the game and is offended by derogatory remarks from various quarters about Bulgarian fascists – has been forced to resign.

Everyone’s droning on about how it’s happening onaccounta resurgent right-wing nationalism in Europe – which assumes that if you can liberalize a government you can debestialize soccer fans. Me no think so. Me think there’s really nothing political about these people. Me think if you asked them basic political questions they wouldn’t understand what you were saying.

Read any intelligent person on ISIS. ISIS is about nihilism and love of beheadings and enslaving; it ain’t very Islamic and it certainly ain’t political. Hate to get all Jonathan Swift on you, but a lot of people – er, young men – are real animals. (Most soccer stadium audiences around the world are currently almost one hundred percent young and male. Everyone else is too afraid for their and their childrens’ lives.) Countries that let them attend public competitive events get what they deserve.

Yet, as Mike Meehall Wood points out, Bulgaria (and other countries) ain’t got much choice:

[D]omestic games are played out to low crowds, where the only people who show up are those who really, really care, which is to say, the hooligans. The idea that the Bulgarian authorities can root out the boneheads is laughable: the stadiums would be empty afterward, so congratulations on not only becoming the guy who bankrupted the club, but also the one who incurred the wrath of the most aggressive and dangerous thugs in town in the process.

The hooligans know this, and thus act with near impunity.


But UD! You’re talking about closing down soccer altogether!

Look. Countries already have shitlists of people they won’t allow into the games. Make the shitlists long enough and non-barbarians might start buying tickets. And anyway what are you talking about? Don’t you know that increasing numbers of games are played in closed-to-the-public stadiums because audiences are simply becoming unacceptably dangerous? I ain’t the one shutting down the show – that’s the soccer federation.


With the imminent incarceration of his latest personal attorney, the president is, according to three sources, about to name Washington State University coach, and Pepperdine-educated attorney, Mike Leach, to replace Rudy Giuliani. A longtime supporter, Leach has a framed and signed photo of Trump on the wall of his WSU office, shares the president’s love of conspiracy theories, obscenity, and violence, and is said to be “tired” of coaching fat stupid lazy worthless university students for a mere four or five million a year.

For background on Leach, go here.

“[O]nly deep, constant reading fully establishes and augments an autonomous self.”

Harold Bloom dies.

Duflo Gets the Nobel

From an earlier post about Esther Duflo:

… She is a world expert on understanding why despite throwing billions at development programmes in poor countries, many fail, and why others succeed. A pioneer in this field, which has only existed for ten years, she has devised a technique to test the effectiveness of anti-poverty programmes through “random testing”, much like pharmaceutical companies test drugs.


Esther married her MIT professor Abhijit Banerjee in 2015.

Whoops. They’re in big trouble. UD assumes MIT has a firm policy punishing student/faculty relationships.

Some sort of distemper has gotten into the Armstrong line…

… as that name generates one shameless POS after another. There’s Lance Armstrong, of course; and now there’s Charles Armstrong, career plagiarist. Both men enjoyed hero status in their professions for decades, even as both were absolute and, to use the word again, shameless frauds. Lance doesn’t need a link over his name; everyone knows what a shameless (there it goes again) liar and cheat that American hero turned out to be. Charles, thanks to enablers like Columbia University and Cornell University Press, has a lower profile, but reputable historians have been trying to tell anyone who will listen (which didn’t, for ages, include his publisher and his employer) that he’s been fabricating and stealing forever. Charles was obviously also helped along by a disciplinary community that failed to detect (willfully overlooked?) gross irregularities in his work.

But shameless. Let me tell you about shameless. When Armstrong, back in 2016, began fielding attacks on his latest book, it went like this:

Soon after the allegations were made public, Armstrong responded … that he “did not comment on any specific issues critics have raised with the book”. On December 30, 2016, Armstrong finally directly addressed the issues raised by the critics, stating: “For those who find the book flawed, inaccurate or insufficiently researched, the answer is simple: write a better book.”

Wee lads and lassies! Obscure jealous persons! Write a better book!

The fucker got away with it for so long; his main victim endured years of ridicule and neglect for daring to question The Great and Powerful Oz. Even now, Columbia has punished him by giving him a full year sabbatical and allowing him to “retire,” while Cornell Press has said jackshit about an episode (the fools even printed a revised version that Armstrong promised was all cleaned up) that reveals a great deal about the quality of their reviewers and editors.

All Hail President Robert Barchi as his Rutgers Presidency Comes to an End!

He leaves, he tells us, on a high note; and who could disagree? From his refusal to step down from lucrative do-nothing corporate board seats even though they represented a conflict of interest; to his inept oversight, during his short tenure, of the most prolific, grotesque and high-profile athletic scandals American higher ed has ever seen; to his spending unprecedented amounts of school money on a football team so outrageously horrible that sports writers compete to describe it (“worst team in big ten history,” “so bad the big ten should kick them out,” “worst football imaginable,” “so bad it’s almost impossible“), Barchi has, allow UD to say, managed to embody to perfection the very essence of the postmodern American university president: Brainless, arrogant, greedy, institution-destroying, and deeply, deeply embarrassing for everyone involved. In other words: The bidding for Barchi to be president of your school has just begun!

UD remembers Susan Sontag’s scathing denunciation of the cruel and bogus notion that there was a “cancer personality.”

Her anger at cancer personality bs featured prominently in her book Illness as Metaphor.

UD also remembers wondering why such obviously implausible notions continue to be taken seriously. This might even have been the beginning of UD‘s education in the sketchy field of research in psychology (this blog has over the years covered a zillion stories of disgraced high-profile psychologists, like Marc Hauser and Diederik Stapel).

Finally we seem to have the definitive trashing of the cancer personality. About time.

Next Page »

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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