Milan keeps saying no to the burqa…

… and various Islamic groups keep lazily saying yes. I mean, they don’t even bother arguing the thing, making a case — they just say dude no problem so what’s your problem?

Ali Abu Shwaima, the chairman of the Lombardy Islamic Center, said there has never been a problem due to women wearing a burqa or veil, thus such a ban is pointless. “Everyone should be free to dress as they wish,” he said.

One, no one is allowed to present themselves to any public realm I’m aware of in any way they wish. Two, a logic issue: If there has never been a problem of this sort, why is northern Italy, along with many regions and countries all over the world, passing burqa bans? UD detects a problem. This guy might at least do everyone the favor of offering reasons why banning burqas is a bad idea. As you know if you follow UD on the subject, burqa fans are strikingly lazy (banners are Islamophobes is about as far as many of them think they need to go) in its defense. I’m guessing it’s because it’s hard to defend.

It’s plane.

Scathing Online Schoolmarm says: Even at the highest levels, editors sometimes mistake plain and plane. In a column about Michelle Obama, Charles Blow writes:

[Racists have always believed black people lack] the morality and character to exist on the same plain as white people.

It’s an understandable error, since it sort of makes sense to say someone deserves to exist in the same geographical location as other people; but the actual idea is that they are on the same level. SOS is going to guess that an editor will soon correct it.


Editors have now corrected it.

Skeletal Greetings from Post-Halloween Rehoboth Beach.

Where you can still run sleeveless on the boardwalk. It’s that warm.

Rutgers University: As Ever, a Class Act.

From their greedy idjit prez to their AD — a man very highly compensated for having the brains to leave messages on journalists’ phones telling said journalists they are “fucking scum” for questioning him about the third case of psycho coaches at the school — Rutgers University has proved itself one of America’s premier high culture locations. The life of the mind is in good hands there.

A new setting for our country’s gun massacres.

You can’t help wondering, driving through Potomac, Maryland, or the Hamptons, or hundreds of locations like them, what’s going to happen to all the empty, unsellable, mcmansions. Turns out not every generation of Americans wants a meaninglessly vast, crushingly expensive box in a distant field – so once the owners realize they’re also desperate to get out of them, what do you do with the abandoned, house-littered landscape?

Of course there are always squatters – Florida and Nevada mcmansions are full of them – but there’s no money in that. OTOH: Turns out a beautiful cosmic convergence is playing out right in front of our eyes: Owners are renting to enormous bring-your-own-guns parties! Shooters want anonymity for their shooting; owners want rental income: Win/Win.

Yes, neighbors are pissed about hundreds of drunk dangerous people next door in what they thought was an upscale neighborhood — dumping trash, blasting music, fighting, crashing their cars, and killing each other — but town councils don’t give a shit, and by the time the police get there, as in lovely Orinda, California, five people are already dead, and more to come, kiddies.

And look – as I’m sure the NRA will explain to the local belly-achers – there are two cool things they’re overlooking here:

  1. They can watch the massacre on YouTube. Yes! It was filmed.
  2. The Orinda party was on Halloween. How many parents can show their trick or treaters real corpses?


Uhhhhhhhh… okay! Day 1 post-massacre, Airbnb announces it’s banning party houses. But if you read the article I linked to, it’s clear that this won’t be easy. Massive parties and criminal activities have for some time been the “scourge” of the industry, and UD doesn’t see how you can effectively police liars of the sort who lied her way into the use of the Orinda house. Plus, as abandoned mcmansion territory grows, there won’t be any neighbors to complain about your meth lab/assault weapon jamboree. Miles of tumbleweed and turrets will assume a Mad Max character…

Morning rises behind the beach replenishment project.
Chilly on the balcony, but worth it for the light show.

La Kid, Halloween.
La Kid, looking a lot like her mother at that age, with two Irish friends in Chicago last night. (She’s in the middle.) She’s about to go Halloweening dressed as Moira from Schitts Creek.

“It changed that moment, it’s difficult to comprehend why that weapon would need to be at a 5- and 6-year-old’s game. At 9:15 on a Saturday morning.”

Parents of teeny weeny soccer players get all booohooo when it turns out spectators carry multiple weapons, including an assault rifle. I mean hellooo? This is America, people!

Finally, after late night rain and wind, the ocean coughs up a few of its…
… calcite-lined stones. Which is the only thing UD wants from the ocean.

Les UDs en vacances: A cut above.
Reading material at our breakfast restaurant.

Lines Written at Seventy-One.

Scathing Online Schoolmarm howled with laughter through this wonderful essay. But she’s a mere sixty-six. Your mileage may differ.


But this, by Roger Angell, is even better. I’ve mulled over this paragraph for years.

“My list of names [of dead friends] is banal but astounding, and it’s barely a fraction, the ones that slip into view in the first minute or two. Anyone over sixty knows this; my list is only longer. I don’t go there often, but, once I start, the battalion of the dead is on duty, alertly waiting. Why do they sustain me so, cheer me up, remind me of life? I don’t understand this. Why am I not endlessly grieving?”

My Bodyguard

Violence is now so bad in German soccer – a referee remains in the hospital, recovering from quite serious wounds inflicted on him by a player who attacked him when he ordered the player off the field – that referees have gone on strike. On one team, bodyguards will be assigned in the future to game officials. Play on!

Wonder what’ll happen to the homicidal honey… Will they make him team captain, put on a parade in his honor, or give him the keys to the city?

His best buddies: Jeffrey Epstein, Genital Mutilators, and Laura Ingraham.

Has anyone been called “disgusting” by more people than Harvard’s highest-profile professor? Does Harvard care that its best-known professor is fighting off claims that he was deeply engaged with a sex slaver, defends people who mutilate children, and praises his fellow tv news panelist who calls heroic American patriots spies? At what point in this man’s career will Harvard decide to break off the association?

Halloween Tree, Rehoboth.

Our Genius of the Carpathians Gets His Very Own Nicolae Ceausescu Moment.



“It’s almost as if it pays to be not depraved.”

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Latest UD posts at IHE





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...
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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