It’s funny. You figure in certain subcultures almost everyone’s corrupt…

… and everyone sort of maneuvers a life around being corrupt… So that if you, say, get arrested for corruption, and even if you go to jail for a year or eight for corruption, okay. Occupational hazard, and maybe you’ve even anticipated and mentally adjusted to the possibility. You have a terrific attorney; you’ve acquainted yourself with the nicest lockups in your country, etc. You’re a man, after all, and men man up and face the music if they have to. UD has always, along these lines, been very fond of Enron’s Andrew Fastow, who, you know, did his time, and came out sardonic and stoical about it. He gives amusing lectures to business ethics classes.

But every now and then you encounter a figure of pathos, like Alan Garcia.Clearly not willing to play the game.

Cathedral bells were tolling…

A song about cathedrals and Paris.

You know her voice from We’ll Meet Again at the end of Strangelove.

And listen: The life-force in that powerful voice ain’t chopped liver — she’s still alive, at 102.

‘He served as a Director of Arresto BioSciences, Inc.’

Which is fitting, because he might be getting arrestoed.

‘The annual multi-billion-dollar exercise in nonsense known as the Leadership Industry.’

UD‘s only on the second paragraph, and already she’s cheering. Thanks, dmf, for the link.

For my own modest contribution to the Leadership thing, go here, here, and here.

Oh, and here.







As to what it occurs to UD to be thankful for at this moment —

— 6:50 AM, November 22 …

As she scans the guest list for the (Whole Foods prepared) meal she’s setting out at two o’clock, she realizes that absolutely everyone – family and friend – (with the exception of Mr UD) is a serious singer. Among the guests are two excellent cantors, two award-winning a cappella singers, a performer with an impressive following on YouTube, etc., etc.

**************

UD‘s parents met when her mother, visiting a Johns Hopkins fraternity house, heard Bach pouring out of a room and pressed open the door. Her father sang in the Hopkins glee club, played piano, loved all music. Her mother also sang, and together they made their children’s lives sing.

How many friends and lovers over the years have told me to tone it down while I tear through rooms warbling? I grew up in a six-person, two-dog Jewish house best understood as actually Italian, with Jewish noise (here’s how we behave on WhisperJets) plus Italian opera. Generations of people have told me I’m loud, and I still don’t get it. Loud is loud; I vocalize above the uproar.

***************

Music is the best means we have of digesting time, wrote Auden, and how can I not be grateful for long meditative exultant time-devouring piano and song?

**************

UD‘s Thanksgiving table.







Another Notch in Wharton’s Belt

We’ve chronicled for years on this blog the remarkable number of truly out-sized financial criminals who got their training at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Here’s another one – a Muslim who used some of his money to “to undo negative misperceptions of [Muslims] in [the] media.”

Well…







And now it hurts to know the truth.

Roy Moore’s campaign song.







Monetizing Your Classroom in Melbourne

This blog has chronicled the ways some professors exploit the sitting ducks, the trapped rats, they encounter each week.

There’s the professor (now in jail) who on the first day of class had everyone write down their social security number and pass it forward to him. The professor who used her graduate students as slaves. The professors who forced their students to sell tickets to sports events for them. A professor who simply stood in front of his graduate students and told them to hand over $10,000 or else.

But the most venerable method of making hay out of your students is the buying-my-book-is-a-requirement thing. A perennial favorite, b-m-b-i-a-r takes many forms, the most recent on view in Australia, at RMIT University, where a bunch of guys in the business school made buying their extremely expensive e-book an inescapable expense for all:

College of Business students were told they had to purchase textbooks written by their lecturers to access the mandatory tests.

These textbooks were sold on a website which Fairfax Media has found is owned by an RMIT lecturer.

The site sells textbooks written by a number of RMIT Business lecturers.

… “Your grades are behind a paywall and your money went into the course coordinator’s pocket,” [one student] said.

Another student, Renata Majdandzic, said she only bought a textbook from the site so that she could sit her tests.

“I just wasted $60 on a book for nothing,” she said.

“I never even looked at these books but we have to pay for them just to do a test that should be included in the [university] fees”.







Wow. I know this blog has a Beware the B-School Boys category, but …

… wow.

Oakland University [business school] professor Joseph Schiele is charged with seven different counts including possession with intent to deliver, felony firearm and operating a drug house.

… [T]ips from Oakland University [in Rochester Michigan] students started to pile up in January 2016. Students were reporting something suspicious was going on at the professor’s home.

An array of drugs was on offer, including ketamine.

“Oh my goodness … ketamine? I was thinking like Adderall or weed, or something. That’s a big jump. Wow,” said student Nichole Hill.

The coverage includes a way scary mug shot. Professors typically do not look this scary.

This story is shocking on many levels, but the most shocking appears in the headline. A B-School professor is Giving Drugs to Students.

Not selling drugs to students?







Jeffrey Aronin: The Pride of Northern Illinois University

Who knows if he learned, as an undergrad and grad student at NIU, how to jack up the price of

his newly approved steroid — a cheap, generic offering sold in many countries around the world as deflazacort — [to] $89,000 a year after landing an approval to market it for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. According to a number of patient advocates, they’ve been buying the drug from overseas for about $1,000 a year.

NIU is so proud of him that they’ve given him the Medallion for Entrepreneurship and said a bunch of shit about what a great philanthropic warm-hearted person he is too.

Next year’s recipient: Martin Shkreli.







A mild night settles over New York City…

… after a warm bright February day. Strange it was, this warmth and sunlight, and UD walked like a demon all over town, as did everyone else. From Avenue to Central Park to Avenue, you could barely walk for the crowd. Though I don’t like crowds, I didn’t mind this, because it was life and beauty (the Metropolitan Museum was Grand Central Station), the overflow of happiness in a suddenly mild and sunlit world.

Three Soltans on a bench in Central Park.

Joanna Soltan walks into the Met and
immediately encounters a fellow artist.







Beware the B-School Boys, Chapter 5,891.

Scoot in close, kiddies, while we remind ourselves why UD‘s Beware the B-School Boys category gets one of the most strenuous workouts on this blog. Here’s one Professor Horsky, who for more than twenty years both taught bright-eyed b-school boylets and girlets at the University of Rochester how to do business, and at the same time defrauded the United States government of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Horsky faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. As part of his plea deal, he paid a $100 million penalty. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 10.

I gave you all that fucking money so leave me the fuck out of jail!

And no – in answer to your question… Not one person at Rochester for two decades ever experienced one scintilla of suspicion that one of their professors was a spectacular financial criminal. Not one person. They were totally blindsided by this.

“The University of Rochester and Simon Business School had no knowledge of the situation involving professor emeritus Daniel Horsky, and fully support the judicial process in this case going forward.”

Yeah. Wouldn’t want the IRS sniffing around, wondering why this person retains his emeritus status and all that. They’re still boasting about him! It is kind of strange.







Berkeley Hall of Famer Rodrigo Rato…

… picked up his business degree at the Haas School and then launched his glorious career of theft on a massive scale. Like Dominique Strauss-Kahn he put in his time as head of the IMF and as an important person at various banks, and he seems along the way to have pocketed whatever he could, however he could.

His latest unpleasantness, which yesterday featured unhappy Spaniards shouting son of a bitch at him as he entered yet another courtroom, involves stealing from credit cards, but there’s so much more.

Yet more reason Berkeley features him as a hall of famer: In 2012, Bloomberg ranked him as one of the world’s worst CEO’s.

Go Haas!







Geert Bekaert’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Semester.

The Leon Cooperman Professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia University must be in a pretty foul mood.

Not only is he the object of a colleague’s high-profile sexual harassment lawsuit; his very title has become besmirched. Leon Cooperman has just been accused of insider trading.







From Bernie Madoff on Down, Universities Need the Benevolence of Nasty Billionaires…

…just as nasty billionaires, in a beautiful synergy, need the, uh, colonic properties of universities.

Bernie and his comrade in trade Ezra Merkin were madly generous, madly esteemed trustees of Yeshiva University. That pious institution made them look pure as the driven snow, preoccupied with things of the mind, things of the spirit; and Bernie and Ezra for obvious reasons valued this look highly.

Yeshiva continues to confer sweetness and light upon the likes of Ira Rennert and Zygi Wilf; and in this it resembles many other American universities, whose buildings and scholarships and professorships bear some seriously nasty names.

*******************

Here’s one. Much-esteemed University of Pennsylvania benefactor Howard Marks is an investor who writes judicious memos about how “markets make mistakes and the greatest market mistakes are driven by emotion – [like] too much greed…”

Marks himself owns but has never lived in a 22,000-square-foot Manhattan apartment which among many other things contains “30 rooms, six terraces, two dozen closets, two chefs kitchens, [and] two libraries.” It sits there on Park Avenue, completely empty, year after year. Like the California venture capitalist who got hold of a long-public beach only in order to post armed guards there to keep anyone from using it, Howard Marks has been driven by some emotion or other to dispense $52 million in order to spend years and years loudly, daily, breaking down the walls of two floors of dead space.

His downstairs neighbors have had enough and are suing. They point out that he’s been breaking building construction rules involving noise levels and hours of work per day for years, and ignoring their pleas that he stop. He has made their lives hell. Not only does he not give a shit; his lawyers are fighting the neighbors tooth and nail.

U Penn gets all excited and writes of Marks as if he’s a god because he gives a few hundred thousand to some of their writing programs, while their benefactor directs his real money to this twisted nihilistic project characterized by vacancy, aggression, and stunning waste.







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