February 16th, 2024
September 2nd, 2023
See, the thing is, if you scare the people who reveal research fraud, they’ll stop revealing it.

Now that he has ignominiously exited Stanford’s presidency, retracting multiple papers as he goes, we can leave Marc Tessier-Lavigne behind, and take up the even ickier case of Harvard’s Francesca Gino.

Ja, Stanford, Harvard; and these are bigshots, humongous success stories, whose work is cited tens of thousands of times.

Both seem to have arrived at the ability to undermine vast fields of research through the simple expediency of making up their results.

Now Gino, as a social sciency biz school Ted Talk specimen, is no real surprise – probably fifty percent of the people who share her genotype are making shit up. T-L, however, does empirical research, so it’s more amazing when he (or his lab) just goes out and does irreproducible things.

Anyway, looks as though he’s going to fade into nothingness because he’s not going to get all shitty and vindictive and sue the people who outed him for $25 mill.

But that’s exactly what Gino’s up to; her fraudulence seems firmly established, but that doesn’t mean she can’t destroy the people who revealed her misconduct. Expensive lawyers, long horrible litigation… Why the hell shouldn’t they be just as ruined as she’s been.


 One scientist, who has discovered research fraud in another high-profile person, has decided to keep it to himself, because, he explains, he runs “a non-zero risk of financial ruin, and no real personal upside. Probably many researchers are making this same calculation at this moment.”

What’s keeping this latest set of fraud-outers from financial ruin is a GoFundMe page (to which UD has contributed) which has in only a few days amassed $326,000.

August 30th, 2023
“The inclusion of insulin in the list of negotiated drugs shows that the Biden White House isn’t fucking around.” 

Hey babe I know he’s awfully old to be president, but ya gotta admit…

May 29th, 2023
Update, Alternative Graduation Ceremony, New College Florida.

The event went off rather better than the hilarious DeSantis campaign launch. 90 of the school’s 119 graduates attended.


May 20th, 2023
“Terrorism must not terrorize us,” [Rushdie] continued. “Violence must not deter us. As the old Marxists used to say, La lutte continue. La lutta continua. The struggle goes on.”

Free speech martyr Salman Rushdie makes a surprise appearance at a PEN event last night. Read all about it.

March 23rd, 2023
“The term ‘Russophobia’ is a claim of the imperial power that it is the victim even as it is carrying out a war of atrocity.”

The imperial power dehumanizes the actual victim and claims to be the victim. When the victim opposes being attacked, being murdered, being colonized, the imperial power says that this is unreasonable, this is an illness, a phobia. … The term ‘Russophobia’ is an imperial strategy designed to change the subject from an actual war of aggression to the feelings of the aggressors, thereby suppressing the existence and the experience of the people who are the most harmed.


 The Russian Federation called for a UN Security Council session to discuss ‘Russophobia.’ This is Timothy Snyder’s contribution.

March 10th, 2023
Georgia on My Mind.

Photo: Valeria Mongelli/AFP via Getty Images

[T]housands of Georgians took to the streets of the country’s capital Tbilisi for two days of protests, waving EU flags and facing down riot police armed with water cannons and tear gas. The contentious [now withdrawn] legislation would have required all organizations that receive more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad to register as foreign agents. The Georgian law was widely viewed as inspired by Vladimir Putin…



Georgia, Georgia
The whole day through
As you march toward
Your place in the EU

I said Georgia
Georgia, what joy I find
Freedom’s old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind

Other arms reach out to you
Other eyes lie viciously
Still in peaceful crowds I see
The road leads back to you

March 8th, 2023
‘[A]s a university professor, I hope that as long as this anti-democratic coup goes on, all academic establishments in Israel will go on strike. We must, of course, continue to support our students in these troubled times, but this is the moment to halt all regular courses, and teach only about democracy, human rights and freedom.’

Yuval Noah Harari addresses a pro-democracy rally in Tel Aviv.

March 3rd, 2023
Only Forty-Five Minutes to Guilty…

One of the jurors who convicted Alex Murdaugh has broken his cover to tell how it took the jury just 45 minutes to find him unanimously guilty of double murder. 

Sing it.

Only forty-five minutes to Guilty
Think of the changes it brings;
For the short time it takes
What a diff’rence it makes
In the ways of the people and things

Oh! What a fine bit of justice
Oh! A decision to cheer
Yes the jurors made hay
Took much less than a day —
Only forty-five minutes to clear

February 28th, 2023
‘[I’m] tired of holding community meetings, you know, we’ll all hold hands and pray.’

So let’s do it this way:

Fuck you, motherfucker.

The Volusia Florida sheriff gets it said, and then some.

February 13th, 2023
Most impressive. But their country is seriously fucked up, and I’m thinking things are going to get a lot more theocratic in Israel before they swing back to democratic.
The remaining democrats in Israel – those who haven’t given up on the mess and moved to Bethesda, Maryland – gather in droves to protest the destruction of their judiciary.
December 19th, 2022
Michel Clain, the Belgian Prosecutor who can take much of the credit for uncovering Qatargate, had a little exchange with the Belgian Prime Minister recently.

Michel Clain: “We [Belgians] are in a corrupt country. Either the politicians do not understand, or they themselves are corrupt.”

The Belgian Prime Minister [asked to comment on Clain’s statement]: “If someone believes there is corruption, they have to prove it. You can’t say that, in such a way, lightly,”

Michel Clain [six months later]: “The latest report from the Financial Intelligence Unit reports astronomical sums laundered by criminal organisations. It is a state institution. You have 25 open cases of police corruption and the investigation is ongoing. So we are now six months after [the PM’s] statement. I wonder if we really still need to prove it to him?”


[Clain] cites French revolutionary humanist values as his guiding principles. For him, financial crime has destroyed fundamental aspects of society. “White-collar crime is the cancer of democracy,” Claise wrote in one of his books, “Le Forain” (The Showman)…

Claise’s dramatic [Qatargate] intervention has left the European institutions headquartered in Brussels scrambling to explain why it took a Belgian official to uncover corruption at the core of European democracy.


‘Course now that Clain has uncovered Qatargate, the PM’s boasting about him. “Belgian justice is doing what … the European Parliament hasn’t done.”

Politico writes:

[T]hat peacocking would be ironic to Claise, who complained in October that Belgium’s police are under-resourced, fighting a war against modern, high-tech corruption using “catapults.” Earlier in the year, he said the Belgian government was “on Xanax rather than Viagra.” 

November 29th, 2022
‘He chastised prosperous donors for giving disproportionately to Ivy League schools, rich hospitals and well-endowed museums, all while getting tax breaks for their donations. Why not share more of that wealth, he asked, with community colleges, low-income health centers, small arts groups and other struggling organizations?’

Pablo Eisenberg, a hero of this blog (UD has forever shrieked at super-icky moneybags who give their hundreds of millions to Harvard), has died.


(By the way — Harvard’s current endowment woes – it has only just reached 53.2 billion dollars – have energized its alumni network to organize a massive, unprecedented, Save Our School campaign, with outreach via Go Fund Me pages in addition to traditional methods. “Our rainy day fund is down to 10.5 billion,” warns Sam Bankman-Fried, an MIT grad who nonetheless accepted a position as head of Harvard fund-raising because “Harvard is the lifeblood of Cambridge; when it goes, the city itself is imperiled.”)


And as to how to convince people who give their money to Ivy League schools, rather than to the sort of places Eisenberg lists in my headline, to redirect their money… Well, you need to understand the cohort you’re talking about, first of all.

Let’s consider, for example, billionaire investor Marc Wolpow, who gives money to fat cat Wharton. What do we know about Marc?

Here’s our most recent information.

The wealthy head of [a] multi-billion dollar private equity firm is under investigation by Nantucket Police and the state Environmental Police for purposefully untying a 32-foot boat from a slip at Old North Wharf, allowing it to drift out of the Easy Street Basin and into the ferry lane. 

The suspect is Marc Wolpow, the co-CEO and co-founder of the The Audax Group, who allegedly found an unknown boat in the slip he uses on Old North Wharf on the morning of Sunday, Oct. 16…

After Wolpow untied it, the boat drifted dangerously past Steamboat Wharf, got pushed northward in the wash of the car ferry the M/V Woods Hole, then collided with the $5 million, 70-foot Viking sportfishing boat “El Jefe” causing damage to that vessel. It eventually ran aground near 22 Easton Street. 

Reached by phone this week, Wolpow declined to comment. 


Here’s what’s shocking about this story:

1 Just anyone reached Wolpow by phone.

2 Wolpow declined to comment.

Why allow just anyone to get past your protection squad and reach you by phone? That’s nuts.

Even more bizarre is Wolpow’s refusal to say the obvious about his behavior.

Heard of property rights, asshole? [“Asshole” here refers to the person who got through to Wolpow’s phone.] It’s my fucking slip, I own it, and I don’t have to look at some cheap shitty boat some person decided to put in it. Do you think I want Nantucket boat owners to think I have a cheap shitty boat? It’s my right to do whatever I like to cheap shitty boats and I think the fucker who put it in my slip will think twice before he does it again. Oh, and fuck you for calling me.

Getting a person of this sort (Marc Kasowitz, Howard Marks, Vinod Khosla, Noam Gottesman, the Heliport Guys, stop me when you’ve had enough) to give money to what he inevitably is going to consider cheap shitty recipients will be very difficult indeed.

November 21st, 2022
American Hero.

Richard M. Fierro said he was at a table in Club Q with his wife, daughter and friends on Saturday, watching a drag show, when the sudden flash of gunfire ripped across the nightclub. His instincts from four combat deployments as an Army officer in Iraq and Afghanistan instantly kicked in. Fight back, he told himself.

In an interview at his house, where his wife and daughter were still recovering from injuries, Mr. Fierro, 45, who left the Army in 2013 as a major, according to military records, described charging through the chaos at the club, tackling the gunman and beating him bloody with the gunman’s own gun…

[H]e raced across the room, grabbed the gunman by a handle on the back of his body armor, pulled him to the floor and jumped on top of him…

The gunman, who Mr. Fierro estimated weighed more than 300 pounds, sprawled onto the floor, his military-style rifle landing just out of reach. Mr. Fierro started to go for the rifle, but then saw that the gunman had a pistol as well.

“I grabbed the gun out of his hand and just started hitting him in the head, over and over,” Mr. Fierro said…

As the fight continued, he said, he yelled for other club patrons to help him. A man grabbed the rifle and moved it away to safety. A drag dancer stomped on the gunman with her high heels. The whole time, Mr. Fierro said, he kept pummeling the shooter’s head while the two men screamed obscenities at each other.

When police arrived a few minutes later, the gunman was no longer struggling, Mr. Fierro said, and he feared that he had killed him…

October 13th, 2022
How can it be that I just cried in front of the very same paintings she cried in front of?

Just got back from the object of my pilgrimage: The Cy Twombly collection at the Menil in Houston. As I entered the Analysis of the Rose as Sentimental Despair room, I found myself weeping – not knowing why, not caring why, but weeping. As if that moment – all alone in the beautiful building dedicated to his work, no one else anywhere, the sound of complete silence – were the reason, the real reason, the full reason, UD hauled herself onto a plane from DC and came down here. And – listen up!

After a long stretch of years, I found myself drawn to re-visit the Cy Twombly Gallery in Houston this past spring. It felt like a homecoming. I stood in the room containing the polyptych in five parts, “Analysis of the Rose as Sentimental Despair” (1985), for hours, observing the subtle shifts of light and shadow with tears streaming down my cheeks. Twombly’s inimitable handwriting was so familiar, although the colors—burgeoning wine-drunk purples and devastating orange-reds—had been so hard to hold in the mind and the realization that they would slip away from me again was heartbreaking. This has been the one group of works about which I’ve been unable to write. These tender pink blushes and bruised blooms always struck me as too achingly beautiful, almost embarrassingly so, to put into words. They contain all that they need in phrases drawn from Leopardi, Rilke, and Rumi (“In drawing and drawing you, his pains are delectable. His flames are like water.”). More text, it would seem, could only serve [to] diminish them.

That’s a whole other human being, tears streaming in front of the exact same work that brought on my waterworks! Listen to what else Claire Daigle has to say about UD’s way-favorite artist.

It has become something of a cliché to call Twombly a painters’ painter, but with his charmed bookishness, he is foremost, in my mind, a writers’ painter. His gestures move between those of writing and drawing, between drawing and painting. Signs perch on the verge of manifest expression, often evading, occasionally gratifying legibility. His [art] partakes of Hermes’s signs, gathering in force as they range from mark to word to quotation through redaction and negation to clamor and quietude. The chromatic incidents—from tiny gem gleams to full blown detonations—and the extraordinary range of types of mark are felt only by the body, Dionysian. They remind us of all in art that escapes the verbal clutch that would hope to seize that which exists only in moments when the attentive gaze is fully present.

It was Roland Barthes’ essay on Twombly that got me going on the man, and I’ve never stopped loving him

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