Dershcam: He makes The Onion!

But he’ll be pissed to see that he’s the very last two words – an afterthought, really.

CAMBRIDGE, MA—Emphasizing that the late billionaire [Jeffrey Epstein] was only having sex with consenting adults at the time, Harvard officials said Friday that the nearly $9 million … Epstein gave to the university was received during a brief recovery period when he did not engage in pedophilia. “I want to be clear: These donations were made only at times when Mr. Epstein was not actively involved in molesting, raping, or trafficking underage girls,” said Harvard President Lawrence Bacow, adding that the university had monitored the convicted felon’s sex life closely to ensure all checks were written and deposited during intervals in which Epstein completely abstained from intercourse with children. “While Jeffrey struggled, and eventually relapsed into pedophilia, I want to assure our community that Harvard went to great lengths not to accept his money while he abused minors. In addition, I can confirm that when Epstein was a visiting fellow in our Psychology Department back in 2005, he only had sex with women who had turned 18.” Bacow later clarified that the university’s anti-pedophile policy only applied to Epstein and would not have any effect on Harvard emeritus law professor Alan Dershowitz.

‘Giuliani divorce heading to trial after he accuses third wife Judith of stealing his remote controls while she bemoans her $500k-a-year allowance.’

There’s a lot to love on both sides of this one.

‘[MIT’s] chumminess [with Epstein] suggests a deeper and more intractable moral rot in American academia: It shows that when a billionaire (or, in Epstein’s case, a faux billionaire) comes calling, men in the ivory tower can’t resist lowering their golden locks to let the plutocrat climb aboard.’

Certain universities – Louisville, USC, Yeshiva, the University of Miami – have the smell of more or less criminal enterprises. They’re always generating high-level, multifaceted, scandal; some of their trustees are crooked or even criminal financiers. Yeshiva had Bernard Madoff as treasurer; Ezra Merkin also sat on their board. Also, I believe, Ira Rennert. The school continues to have as a trustee Zygmunt Wilf. These are not pretty people.

Now, Harvard and MIT were indeed buddies with Jeffrey Epstein; Harvard even celebrates as an emeritus professor Alan Dershowitz, at least an Epstein intimate, and at most (according to one of Epstein’s slaves) a secret sharer in the sex. Its erstwhile president, who helped run a hedge fund while president, hung out with Epstein too. (He also hung out with Andrei Shleifer…) But these schools are not the rackety dives those other schools are. They’re not just in it for the money. Nor are they just in it for the sports: The heavy campus hand of plutocrat college sports fans (the recently departed T. Boone Pickens at Oklahoma State; Phil Knight at Oregon) generates scandals, too – but these are the tired, expected scandals of the jock school.

No, MIT and Harvard are great schools, serious schools, productive schools – they are among the world’s greatest intellectual institutions. They fuck with plutocrats because of their professors’ smokin’ ambition to understand, to invent, to cure. They want money, money, and more money to fund their projects. To be sure, some of this generative creative activity makes some of their professors personally wealthy — the ex-head of MIT’s Media Lab took money from Epstein for his own investments, which adds to the embarrassment of it all… More commonly, professors monetize their medical and technical breakthroughs, producing all kinds of conflict of interest trouble at cutting edge places like Stanford…

We little people, looking in at all of this from the outside, are assured that COIs can be “managed” – the word is always managed – and we shouldn’t worry our pretty little heads. Yessir!


Now look. Most people are pretty greedy; many putrid plutocrats realize that a university affiliation can clean them up real good. It’s a marriage made in heaven. But here’s what UD finds remarkable: MIT’s endowment is close to 17 billion; Harvard’s is close to forty billion. In ten years or so, Harvard’s wealth will be, say, a hundred billion. Harvard is a superplutocrat.

These schools are currently in trouble for promiscuous plutocrat fraternization; but given how INSANELY – not to say unconscionably – rich they are, why is this sort of thing happening at all? Just make an appointment with the “super-secret and dictatorial Harvard Corporation” and explain to them that you’d rather dip into the school’s billions and billions and billions than have to take research money from a guy in jail for sexually enslaving fifteen year olds. The worst they can say is no!

And while we’re at it – Why do superbillionaires like Harvard feel compelled to appoint rich turds like Epstein visiting fellows? We know that legacy parents can pay their kids’ way into Harvard; we know that rich parents can bribe coaches to get their kids into schools like Harvard and Yale. I’m not sure we knew that profit-oriented Harvard faculty can gift generous rich guys official appointments. Not a good look. Not a good look at all. But when Larry Summers spends his presidency running a hedge fund, losing $1.8 billion of Harvard’s endowment on market gambles, and defending a faculty crony who misused, for personal gain, government funds to Harvard, whadaya expect? That crony cost Harvard tens of millions in federal penalties, and it made not one bit of difference in terms of his high-profile position in Harvard’s economics department. That’s the way plutocracies work, kiddies. Plutocracies are even smart enough to know when their workings have become too public, which is why right after Larry Summers, Harvard appointed preachy anti-materialist Drew Faust (‘And while you’re at it, find me a woman, for crap sake!”) to maintain the non-profit theatrics.

Skeptical of the clean-up crew function of women when plutocrat sausage parties get out of hand? Read and learn. As FIFA went, so went Harvard – when things get truly desperate and you can’t hide what you’ve been doing any longer, Find A Woman, Pronto. You can always go right back to men when it all blows over.


As ever, sing it.

[Before and after his conviction in 2008, Epstein was a regular on the masturbatory tech gadfly circuit — an attendee and sponsor of “billionaire dinners” and related sausage-factory soirees at which ultrawealthy men (among them the founders of Amazon and Google), elite scientists and various other male luminaries discussed the future they were collectively trying to build (or, depending on your perspective, squander.)]


The party’s over

It’s time to find us a dame

Until we start up again

I’m going to miss our game

It’s time to wind up

The masquerade

There’s no more Epstein

To keep us paid…

The Storied Esformes Family Adds Another Chapter to its Amazing History.

Three generations of them grace this land of ours – the grandfather, who established a dirty chain of nursing homes in Chicago; the son, who committed the biggest Medicare fraud in American history; and the grandson, whose admission to U Penn came about because of Esformes money paid to its basketball coach (now convicted of bribery). Read all about it.

Having spent every waking moment of his entire life breaking almost every known law, the son’s contrition in front of the judge today lacked a certain…

The son got twenty years, and might have gotten fewer if he’d been willing to say to the judge, in that contrition thing, exactly what he’d done …

At a critical juncture before he imposed Esformes’ punishment, the judge seemed willing to lower his final sentence by four years if the defendant agreed to elaborate on his “acceptance of responsibility” in his original statement to Scola. The judge said he would only acknowledge Esformes’ acceptance if he specifically admitted he paid bribes and committed other crimes. But … Esformes’ legal team chose not to go that route because it would have precluded their appeal of his trial convictions.

That’s it, babe. An Esformes to the bitter end. Might fuck up his appeal.

UD doesn’t know how excited she should get about the prospect of Israel’s religious bigots getting fucked over in the next election.

Headlines like At Last, Israelis Are Turning Away From Their Medieval Religious Maniacs certainly sound promising, but even if a secular coalition prevails, Israel will still need to do something about its many varieties of other right-wing cultists. Not only that, but any felt threat to the ultraorthodox will have the haredim pouring into the streets and burning down their neighborhoods. (Note, in the headline, the word maniacs.)

“[W]omen who have been violated in the most traumatic of ways…”

Female genital mutilation is …. think of it as cultural rape. England ain’t happy to be hosting so much of it, and its health secretary has just announced a bunch of new clinics across the country dedicated to dealing with this grotesque import.

Hitchens on Orwell

What [Orwell] knew … was that there was a filthy secret at the heart of power, and that secret was in a sense a pornographic secret – that some people don’t even need [an] excuse to wield power – they won’t even say we’re doing it for your own good or to civilize your colony, or to save you from communism, or to save you from fascism or to liberate you from capitalism… We’re in power because we like it. We’re in power because we enjoy punishing people. We’re in power because we enjoy owning people. We enjoy telling them what they can do. We enjoy telling them when we feel like having sex with them and when we don’t. We do this for its own sake. The pornography element of power is a very important thing to understand… It’s an exercise of sheer cruelty, and I think it was a tremendous advantage to Orwell as a writer to have understood this from the start…

UD wonders what’s happening in Firozabad…

… where things got violent between burqa and non-burqa factions on a college campus there. Burqas have now been banned from the school. It would be good to know who started things. If the model for this sort of outbreak is Tunisia, yikes.

Won’t you help me cure this overload…

[USC] had to deal with the notorious “Varsity Blues” scandal this spring which heavily-involved [Lynn] Swann’s athletics department. Throw in basketball assistant Tony Bland getting caught up in the college basketball corruption trial and Swann’s seat was getting awfully hot.


Carol Folt’s letter to candidates to replace USC Athletic Director Lynn Swan: Sing it.

This overload …

I can hear your cleats clicking on the sidewalk

Beating to the rhythm of my heart

Caught up to you

You’re the only one I want

I follow you home every night

Just to make sure that you get there alright

Baby it’s true

Can’t think of anything but you

And what I need baby

Is a little bit of sympathy

I’m down here on my knees

It’s a twenty-scandal night

And I can’t live without your help

Won’t you help me cure this overload

Won’t you help me cure this overload


Oh, Varsity Blues

And basketball is nothing but skooz

Doesn’t that say something

Scum has taken hold of me, yeah

Baby I need you

You’ve got to see me through

Can’t take another scandal-night without you

Honey it’s true I am so hung up on you, yeah

The NRA is in private talks with Hamas to discuss their options.

Hamas has reportedly called the NRA’s lawsuit strategy “a mistake,” and urged instead that they focus on strengthening the charitable arm of the organization.

He wants to leave the…

United States; and he wants to leave Sarah.

This concludes the family values portion of your broadcast.

Are we going to tragedify away Marsha Edwards’ gun violence?

She killed both of her adult children – and then herself – with a gun (or guns) she had in her house. Why did Marsha Edwards have guns? The police are saying very little – not about guns, or a final note, or substance abuse issues, or psychiatrists… With the exception of one neighbor who apparently called her a “very, very unhappy woman,” we got nuthin. We got lots of the use of the word “tragedy,” and lots of Give God the Burden, which UD finds mighty odd for a double murderer. Of her own children.

What is it about some women who kill? UD‘s reminded of ol’ Amy Bishop, who shot her brother to death and was sent home to mommy. I understand you can’t do anything to Marsha Edwards now (Bishop, decades later – after she mass-murdered her University of Alabama colleagues – was indicted for the fratricide), but we should at least find out why a murderously deranged mother was able to buy a gun and kill her kids with it. She lived in a wealthy, ultra-safe, gated community… Why the gun? Can we ask when she bought it, or if she got it from a friend, or whatever? It’s the thing that ended three lives – shouldn’t we know something about it?

As the Marsha Edwards story vanishes into that tragic woman plus the cosmic mystery, it leaves the stink of the normalization of a household appliance able to be used with stealth, ease, and one hundred percent fatality.

The Gun Cure

“People tend to drink a fair amount of alcohol when you don’t have many other sources of entertainment. Everybody has guns. You get the stress of a poor crop, of tariffs, and you can’t sell your wheat for what it costs to put in the ground. Cattle prices may or may not be good. The bank’s knocking at your door. Your kids are moving away because of brain drain. So people a lot of times tend to deal with it with a single bullet.”

A Montana psychiatrist sums it up.

On September 5, a reader sent me…

this, from the MIT Technology Review. It was an insider reckoning with the school’s Media Lab, which turns out to have been an Early Epstein Responder. But unlike a lot of people and institutions, the Lab, under its modest, unworldly, cerebral, founder (“[Nicholas] Negroponte said that he prided himself on knowing over 80% of the billionaires in the US on a first-name basis…”), kept on taking Jeffrey Epstein’s money long after he had been convicted of sex crimes. (“He wiped his reputation off with the dirty money [the Lab] took. Then he raped more kids.”) Of course they tried to hide what they were doing (wouldn’t you?), and now the story of greed, moral degeneracy, and coverup at one of America’s most burnished schools has jumped all over the place, esp. the New York Times and the New Yorker.

A writer for the Guardian draws out – way out – some possible implications of this big ol’ scandal.

The ugly collective picture of the techno-elites that emerges from the [MIT] Epstein scandal reveals them as a bunch of morally bankrupt opportunists… [A] “third culture” [was supposed to] replace the [university’s] technophobic literary intellectuals with [intellectuals] coming from the world of science and technology…

It’s not uncommon for intellectuals to serve as useful idiots to the rich and the powerful, but, under the “third culture”, this reads like a job requirement… [C]lose the Media Lab, disband the Ted Talks, refuse the money of tech billionaires… Without such drastic changes, the powerful bullshit-industrial complex that is the “third culture” will continue unharmed, giving cover to the next Epstein.

As a technophobic literary whatever, UD‘s thrilled at the prospect of threadbare morally serious professors taking their no money and no influence and bashing the brains out of the techies and their billionaire buddies… but this seems unlikely. The Guardian writer seems a bit over the top. After all, it ain’t just techies – look at what Stanford med school professors have been doing forever! The future belongs to the bullshit-industrial (industrial bullshit?) complex.

WAY Corbusierian Building at …

… Glenstone (see this post for details of UD‘s recent visit).

UD doesn’t know quite what to make of it. It’s an absolute copy of his style. Homage? Glenstone’s focus throughout is indeed early and mid twentieth century; but what can it mean that they decided to hire someone to construct a Corbu, as you might hire someone to write a Mozart sonata?

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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.
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It’s [UD's] intellectual honesty that makes her blog required reading.
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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.
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If deity were an elected office, I would quit my job to get her on the ballot.
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