August 30th, 2022
High-end evasion of the police reaches new heights with the just-completed Bentley Residences Miami.

Until now, narco-billionaires seeking to avoid capture by the authorities through living in gated/patrolled high-rises have always risked exposure when leaving their cars, giving the keys to the parking valet, and then walking, in complete view of other people, into the building, into the elevator, and down the hallway of their floor, where they risk running into neighbors.

Beyond the obvious fact that narco-billionaires are unlikely to be pleased that strangers (even building staff) are getting inside their cars, where they can look around and find god knows what, there’s the larger point of all the exposure involved in walking into the building.

Bentley Residences has solved every one of these problems, allowing international criminals to enter all the way into their apartments without ever getting out of their car. Owners drive into sophisticated car elevators that lift them directly into their apartment, where they leave the car in a glass-enclosed garage which allows them to look at it while eating dinner (see images in this article).

July 29th, 2022
You can’t make this shit up.

Hawley Book ‘Manhood’

Set for Release Next Year


From his publisher:

‘Runs about 350 pages.

Initial press run of 10,000 paperback copies.

Expected to be a runaway hit.’

July 27th, 2022
‘[C]ash conversion that low sparks a little paranoia about its ability to extinguish debt.’

And Teva Pharmaceuticals – the remarkably corrupt megacorp we’ve followed on this blog for years – does have one dumpster fire of debt. It’s way up there in the billions.


But what’s this? Teva stock “is on fire today.”

See, they just settled – again, for several billions – the latest of … billions? … of criminal cases against them, these involving the company having been a big ol’ drug dealer during the heyday of opioid addiction (I guess we’re still in the heyday). Now that Teva has paid its way out of its most recent vileness, the company looks much more stable, and investors can heave a sigh of relief, all the while preparing to withdraw their winnings before the next gigantic criminal scheme takes Teva down for good.

July 25th, 2022
‘I’m hardly able to pronounce on the merits [of the debunking studies] here. But it really does seem that we’ve created a system of medical research and drug development that can be easily gamed for cash, while producing no results. It’s a perfect encapsulation of our decadence.’

An observer is stunned at evidence that profoundly influential studies of depression and Alzheimer’s may have been shown to be bogus.

But he’s wrong about the “producing no results.” The serotonin thing has resulted in tens of millions of Americans being put on powerful, very hard to withdraw from, meds – meds which probably are not responsible for whatever alleviation of their condition these people may be experiencing.

June 5th, 2022
Is it real, or is it Tom Wolfe?

[Chef Daniel] Humm made headlines in May 2021 when he announced his famed eatery would be going entirely plant-based — but keeping its meals’ $335 prix-fixe price tag for 12 courses.

However, there was some controversy when it was revealed in late 2021 that there was a “secret meat room” at the restaurant for the super-rich — a private dining room targeted to big ticket corporate events with a meat-heavy menu that includes foie gras, beef tenderloin, roasted chicken and pork. 

March 9th, 2022
We’re cutting off the entire nested dolls industry!

‘[T]he Kremlin threatened retaliation … for the “economic war” it accused the U.S. of waging.

March 8th, 2022
Russia’s Secret Weapon: The Yacht Armada

The Kremlin spent the last 20 years trying to modernize its military. Much of that budget was stolen and spent on mega-yachts in Cyprus.

January 8th, 2022
‘He got rid of two jets and placed his 280-foot superyacht on the market for $106 million. Princeton University, to which Mr. Perelman had pledged $65 million to go toward construction of a new residential college, announced in 2021 that the building would no longer be named in his honor when he failed to meet the original payment schedule.’

Our friends and neighbors in DC sometimes ask us why we don’t subscribe to the Washington Post — why we subscribe instead to the New York Times.

In part it’s about the incomparable Sunday NYT crossword puzzle.

But for both Les UDs, it’s also because there’s only one newspaper where paragraphs like the one in this post’s title – a single paragraph from a long article which sensitively and minutely explores a tragic chapter in the life of a high-profile New Yorker – are routine.

December 7th, 2021
‘The court ordered Abraham to forfeit to the United States: a 2020 Acura NSX, a 2020 Porsche GT4, a 2021 Toyota Supra, a 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, a 2020 Aston Martin, a 2020 Nissan 370Z, a 2020 Chevrolet Camaro, two 2020 Ford Mustangs, $190,496.56 paid toward a 2021 Aston Martin, and $249,598.52 in cash.’

The tragic toll of a life of crime.

November 17th, 2021
Reliably Scummy University of Miami Does it Again.

The med school and sports program have, over many years, been the main source of scumminess at that benighted institution (go here), but now international relations has gotten into the game, with the last chair of the department (he has, uh, retired) just convicted of money laundering. His Venezuelan BFFs steal international funds meant for the poor and hide them in Swiss banks and Professor Bagley got his share of the goodies which having been caught in the act by a government agent Bagley’s way sorry and fuck it hasn’t he suffered enough?

Bagley’s defense attorney, Peter Quijano, said the former professor [shouldn’t get jail time because he] had already suffered “devastating collateral consequences” as a result of his conviction, the end of his UM career and the death of his wife earlier this year.

Dude was in his seventies when he started killing poor people unable to afford medicine because he stole their money, so his career was going to be over anyway, so let’s forget that devastating consequence. The fact that his wife died because of what he did (of embarrassment? heart attack from shock? He might at least have told her he was doing something that might end in jail time.) is totally on him, and if anything he should get more time for collaterally killing her along with all those Venezuelans.

I mean, UD totally understands that he figured this would be an easy way to score some really significant supplemental retirement funds, a fitting valedictory for a career specializing in international crime, but, you know, he took a risk and he lost. It happens.

The judge sentenced him to jail. Another feather in UM’s cap.

November 16th, 2021
‘It was a common arrangement among ultra-rich buyers, who often don’t take physical possession of their works, instead leaving them in customs-exempt freeports while waiting for them to appreciate.’

And the best part is, no one gets to see the paintings that way. Wouldn’t want them on display or anything.

November 5th, 2021
‘Heinel, a USC senior associate athletic director, [indeed the highest-ranking woman in the USC athletics department,] helped dozens of wealthy parents by admitting rising college freshman as recruited athletes. According to [a Netflix] documentary, Heinel would hold biweekly meetings with members from admissions to provide a list of these students with padded credentials on their resume; in exchange, Singer would pay Heinel a monthly fee of $20,000, a bribe that would inevitably spell [the] end of her career.’

UD’s always shocked to find career criminals in high – sometimes the highest! – positions in American universities. Of course Greek universities, for instance, are overrun with administrator/larcenists; but us guys? L’il us?

Donna Heinel will plead guilty; she has put her bribecile in Long Beach on the market, as her real estate agent explains:

Putting the scandal and its legal ramifications aside, this lovely little Long Beach three-story villa is sure to make quite the splash of its own …

November 2nd, 2021
‘[W]hy are people who have more money than anyone can truly enjoy so determined to keep every penny?’

Wealth-tax-wise, it’s certainly a question, and Paul Krugman, rather lamely, tries to answer it (They need to keep their competition with other billionaires going; they are petty insecure egomaniacs).

Hoarding of pointless billions, more generally, is a fascinating behavior. Harvard University – closing in on a $55 billion endowment – still asks UD‘s husband every few weeks to leave it all his worldly goods. Unimaginably rich people grasping self-destructively after money they don’t need is fascinating.

Greed on a much smaller scale we know all about; we couldn’t have classic literature without it. (Start at 1:50.) But refusal to shear off the odd billion from, say, $335 billion, for the common good, is truly puzzling. That is, one can sort of perceive a kind of panic in people like Fanny Dashwood (again, see 1:50); the intimate, familial, cruelty of her grasping, and the comical fact that she literally does fall upon every single stray farthing in her vicinity, sketch a human type, a baleful character, recognizable from our observation of, say, certain children who steal other children’s toys, and throw a tantrum if you try to take any of theirs away, even temporarily…

But words like pathological tend to get rolled out when unconscionably vast sums are hoarded, or trivialized, as in Robert Hughes’ comment about the 2004 sale of a Picasso:

When you have the super-rich paying $104m for an immature Rose Period Picasso – close to the GNP of some Caribbean or African states – something is very rotten. Such gestures do no honour to art: they debase it by making the desire for it pathological. As Picasso’s biographer John Richardson said to a reporter on that night of embarrassment at Sotheby’s, no painting is worth a hundred million dollars.

And that was 2004. We’re up to $450.3 million for a da Vinci. No painting is worth … five hundred million dollars?


How bout this.

Melanie Klein … saw greed as part of human nature, [and] she traced it back to the death drive. Human beings are unavoidably self-destructive, she argued, and we project that destructiveness onto the outside world in the form of insatiable acquisitiveness, envy, and hate. “At the unconscious level, greed aims primarily at completely scooping out, sucking dry, and devouring the breast,” Klein wrote, describing the primal instincts of infants and psychotics. Though later psychologists have questioned Klein’s all-pervasive belief in the death drive, or Thanatos, many agree with her that there is an existential connection between our mortality and our desperation to acquire good things. Essentially, it’s death that makes people “greedy for life”; we seek to get as much as we can for ourselves before the game is over.


Some suggested reading. An excerpt from it, taking a position a tad different from Klein’s.

A woman who titled a collection of essays The Virtue of Selfishness, [Ayn] Rand was given to brackish candor. Yet at a time when many people think that the common good is more often imperiled than empowered by unbridled greed, she provides an alternative defense of the acquisitive instinct by appealing to an ethics of gross achievement and a formulation of personal liberty that looks with suspicion and disdain on any talk of civic duty, moral obligation, or even prudential restraint. Her aim was simple: To relieve greed, once and for all, of any moral taint.

November 2nd, 2021
“You get charged before you are seen. Not for being seen.”

Emory University’s Decatur Hospital is a “Compassion-Centered Spiritual Health Site” which… great, great. The name’s something of a mouthful, but whoever named it is clearly trying to cram a lot of good stuff in. Could have named it Community Centered Compassion Centered Spiritual Health and Wellness Center or something even longer, so fine.

It’s also a hospital, of course, with an emergency room and all…

But the reality of Emory Decatur’s emergency room is more like the stygian depths than the spiritual heights… By which I mean that, as described in this article, it’s more like hiring a plumber than leaning on the everlasting arms. When you hire a plumber (at least around these parts), you start paying the minute he walks in the door – seventy dollars for the first hour, a little less for after that. Dude could walk around doing nothing and you’d still owe him seventy.

Same thing at compassionate Emory, which explains in the email I quote in this post’s title that hell you could sit in the ER waiting room for seven hours with a head injury and then give up in frustration and you’d STILL get a bill for, let’s see, $688.35.

October 29th, 2021
Rand Central Station

“The last time I was in the Bay Area, I went walking in the marina and saw seven consecutive boats named after characters from Ayn Rand,” [Abigail] Disney said.

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