December 31st, 2023
Mr UD, last night, at …

La Fenice, for a thrilling New Year concert featuring all the beloved Italian operatic standards belted out to a very emotional local audience. Of course we ended with Libiamo. Tonight we dangle our feet over one of the canals and watch fireworks.

December 29th, 2023
On UD’s flight to Venice…

… a brilliant view of the Alps.

December 28th, 2023
Disclaimer: No universities were harmed in the making of this film.

No university property or funds were used to create the books or videos, Gow said. He created the content on his own personal time and spent more on production costs than the “minimal” money the videos have earned through the websites.

This would be the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, assiduous producer/performer in hardcore porn films.

For his official bio, read this while you can. Unofficially, the handsome rangy runner/vegan has two books about how great it is to film yourself fucking but how it all has to be on the down-low because he holds a high-profile job.

Hélas, someone (I guess a few other people in La Crosse watch porn videos) recognized him and told on him and now he’s been fired but he’s not going quietly but rather has much to say about his free speech rights.

December 27th, 2023
‘[T]he reality of criminal bans is maybe potentially different than people imagined in sort of more abstract statements about right to life or protecting unborn babies.’

You betcha. There’s something about losing your medical license and spending a long stretch in jail, where you’ll maybe share a cell with one of your abortion-seeking patients, to concentrate the mind, huh?

December 27th, 2023
Listen, in memory of Lenka Hlávková, massacred in the prime of life by a madman with a gun…

… to the tranquil music she studied and loved.

One of many lost.

December 26th, 2023
Update, FWIW, on Claudine Gay

I have heard from a source that is reliable but a step or two removed from the situation that the Harvard Corporation has asked President Gay to resign and she has refused. Gay has apparently said that if she is fired, she will sue. Gay has retained her own counsel. I can’t 100% confirm the above is true, but if it is, I am sure the Board is concerned about what may emerge in legal discovery in the event of litigation.


Sounds plausible, I guess. In general folks are sniffing far too eagerly around the SOOOOper secret Harvard Corporation…. You remember Bagehot: “Its mystery is its life. We must not let in daylight upon magic.” When people leave you alone every day to play to your heart’s content with fifty billion dollars, you’re unlikely to want that situation to get fucked up.

December 26th, 2023
Life, the Alewife.

UD‘s holiday thoughts as she passes herons, geese, and wild turkeys on a foggy morning in Cambridge:

  1. Everyone struggles. The only real thing to be said about that is: compassion.
  2. Why did David and Eve Kosofsky’s older sister abandon the family? UD puzzles over this one routinely, but especially at holiday gatherings. David had his theories; Eve wrote about it. The elder Kosofskys made various efforts at contact but were always rebuffed. Now that all those she abandoned are dead, it’s a different sort of story, sealed in permanence, but still a mystery. The best UD can do after all these years and all this thought is: See #1. Compassion dictates that you stop thinking about the cruelty of it and think rather of the fragility that would need to run that far away to achieve (what she seems to have achieved) a reasonably successful life.

On to the train back to DC.


All Contact Cut Off Forever

The only one left is the one who left

Removing herself from her family in

A cruel and puzzling theft.

Fifty years on we gather to mark

Her mother’s dearth. 

Her mother’s death.

In everyone’s mind is that theft — dark

Inexcusable, inexplicable.

The denial of yourself, your children,

From all the people who love you.  Unthinkable.


In spite of her hard pure withdrawal

Her decades-long discipline

I scan the Senior Center Meeting Hall

For a seventyish woman in black.

Hiding again – no one can say why – 

In the seating at the back of the back.

December 23rd, 2023
‘One of the legal organizations that represented Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss, Protect Democracy, is … also representing them in a separate lawsuit against the right-wing blog The Gateway Pundit and is representing a Pennsylvania postal worker smeared by Project Veritas, a county recorder in Arizona attacked by the Republican candidate Kari Lake and a voter in Georgia accused of being a “ballot mule” by Dinesh D’Souza.’

These also should be fun to watch.

December 23rd, 2023
ANOTHER instance of plagiarism!

Oh wait. UD‘s mixing up stories.

December 22nd, 2023
You go first.

With each passing day it becomes ever more plausible that we should silence the law professoriate for the good of the nation. Yes I will accept my fate along with the rest.Adrian Vermeule


My Vermeule posts.

December 22nd, 2023
And now for UD’s annual slog up the coast.

The sun throngs her window (I stole “throngs” from Philip Larkin); her wee nuclear family sits directly to her left on the train. Extended family insists on living in Boston, so the Polish-ish Christmas must happen there.

You know if you read this blog that UD dislikes grubby old Boston, and slogging to that city in the dead of winter seems especially stupid. But.

I listen to Julia Lezhneva for much of the trip, which also features blueberry muffins and, this year, a book about India. After New Year’s in Venice, Les UDs fly to Rajasthan.

December 22nd, 2023
 ‘If she stays in her job, the optics will be that a middling publication record and chronically lackadaisical attention to crediting sources is somehow OK for a university president if she is Black. This implication will be based on a fact sad but impossible to ignore: that it is difficult to identify a white university president with a similar background. Are we to let pass a tacit idea that for Black scholars and administrators, the symbolism of our Blackness, our “diverseness,” is what matters most about us? I am unclear where the Black pride (or antiracism) is in this.’

John McWhorter calls for Harvard president Claudine Gay to step down.

December 21st, 2023
‘In May 2018, as he left his law firm to work with Mr. Trump, Mr. Giuliani had about $1.2 million in cash and about $40,000 in credit card debt… [B]y early 2019, Mr. Giuliani was down to $400,000 in cash and had up to $110,000 in credit card debt.’

[He and his third wife had] a $230,000-a-month spending habit, six houses and 11 country club memberships.

He’s tried unloading the real estate, but no one will buy because the houses have Rudy Cooties.

December 21st, 2023
A maniac with a gun…

… first kills his father, and then fifteen or twenty people (some of the injured will die) on the campus of Prague’s Charles University. He was a student there. He killed himself as police neared.

Used a big ol’ sniper rifle and did a Charles Whitman – picked everyone off from a rooftop.

December 21st, 2023
Gay Abandon

Is Harvard preparing to concede that President Gay should be let go?

The controversy swirling around Dr. Gay raises questions about what it means for a premier American university when its scholarly leader — who at Harvard has final approval on all tenure decisions — has been accused of failing to adhere to scholarly standards. The allegations against her [have] prompted some to wonder whether Harvard is treating its leader with greater latitude than it would its students.

Says the NYT. Then it takes a trip down memory lane. Devoted UD readers will recall these earlier stunningly hypocritical Harvard plagiarism cases.

In 2005, after two prominent law professors, Charles Ogletree Jr. and Laurence Tribe, were publicly accused of plagiarism, The Harvard Crimson ran an editorial decrying the “disappointing double standard,” noting that “students caught plagiarizing are routinely suspended for semesters or even entire academic years.”

In both cases, the investigations — which were led by Derek Bok, a former Harvard president, and unfolded over months — found that each had in fact committed plagiarism. The professors were publicly chastised by the administration, but Harvard did not say whether there were any sanctions, according to news reports at the time.

In an apology, Mr. Ogletree, who died this year, acknowledged that his 2004 book “All Deliberate Speed” included several paragraphs from another law professor almost verbatim, without any attribution, according to a New York Times report at the time. (He said it was the result of a mix-up by his research assistants.)

In Mr. Tribe’s case, he was deemed by Harvard’s president and the law school dean to have unintentionally included “various brief passages and phrases that echo or overlap with material” in a book by another scholar, who was not credited. Mr. Tribe, who still teaches at Harvard, apologized.

These were ATELIER plagiarism (read about UD’s tripartite scheme here], plagiarism committed by the flunkies who write your books for you because you’re far too busy and important to write them yourself. (See, among other Harvard luminaries, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Jill Abramson, and Alan Dershowitz.)

The getting off scot-free bit is a prototypical instance of oligarchic privilege, an outcome no one in any of the world’s many class-based, corrupt from top to bottom, countries would have any trouble recognizing.

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