Open Thread for Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Some possible topics:

  1. Smallpox vials found in NIH storage closet — Which gets me to thinking… I was vaccinated against smallpox either two or three times as a child (when we lived in South America, we were required to get boosters on top of the one I’d gotten before starting kindergarten back in SC). So… if this gets loose, am I covered? Or has it been far, far too long?
  2. Germany Gives Brazil Das Boot With 7-1 Win; Enters World Cup Final — This morning at breakfast, my friend Wolfgang Buchmaier urged me not to forget to cheer for Germany today. Well, I forgot, but they obviously didn’t need me. Wow. With a score like that, it’s almost like they were playing American football. Oh, and to the NPR headline writer who tried to be cute: “Das Boot” means, “the boat.” I don’t see how that makes sense here.
  3. Israel pounds Gaza Strip with air and naval strikes — That was the headline in The Guardian. The New York Times reported, “Exchanging Attacks, Hamas and Israel Step Up Air War,” acknowledging that both sides were escalating. Israel said Hamas fired 160 rockets into its territory, so Israel responded with 160 air strikes. An eye for an eye, I suppose. Although I’m gathering that the Israeli strikes were more effective, meaning more deadly.
  4. Ben Hoover gratified by fan support — Yesterday, Bryan emailed me to let me know some Hoover fans were picketing WIS. Unfortunately, I was already at home when I got the message. The State got some pictures, though.
  5. Defiant Abdullah claims Afghan win — There are reports he may be setting up a “parallel government.”

Or, whatever interests you, within reason…

19 thoughts on “Open Thread for Tuesday, July 8, 2014

  1. bud

    As for the tension between Israel and the Palestinians the American course of action is clear. Do not take sides. Period. The more I read about WW I the more it is crystal clear that it is simply impossible to impose anything positive by choosing sides. We chose the allies in WW I and all we ended up with was a contemptuous bunch of victorious allies who refused to moderate their harsh positions the way Wilson wanted. Thanks a lot England and France. Not only did 120k Americans die in that war but it set the table for much of the worlds problems for the century that followed. To paraphrase James Carville during the first Clinton campaign: It’s the neutrality stupid. We can no more make things better through some type of military meddling than we can turn water into wine. But the modern day political alchemists never seem to learn that message.

  2. Burl Burlingame

    I tried to get the submarine museum here to name their gift shop Das Bootique, but no soap.

  3. Silence

    So, it appears that SC State was using vendor “rebates” to launder state appropriations into unaccountable foundations. Discuss.

    1. Doug Ross

      Not a single dollar more should be given to the university. The corruption there is systemic.

      1. Mark Stewart


        If major corporate vendors went along with these significant internal kick-backs at SC State (i.e., structured them into long-term contracts), then that would lead me to believe that they are endemic within public higher education institutions. Why would USC, Clemson, MUSC, Francis Marion and all the rest also not be similarly playing slight of hand games such as was exposed at SC State?

        1. Kathryn Braun Fenner

          The State article says that the rebates are common, but that USC uses them for related purposes, like food service upgrades from food service vendor rebates. USC does not channel them into the Foundations. The State says only SC State channeled them into the slushy Foundation.

          1. Silence

            If this isn’t illegal already under some existing statute, it should be. Those “rebates” belong to the taxpayers of the state of SC and to the students who pay tuition – not to the bureaucrats, administrators and board members of the university.

            1. Kathryn Braun Fenner

              I don’t understand what the rebates are all about. Some work around the BCB?
              I wish someone had actually explained the policy behind them in the article.

            2. Kathryn Braun Fenner

              After all, the Foundations exist to work around the legislative restrictions. For example, the USC Foundation can sell donated property without getting BCB approval, and the Foundations supplement compensation to high-“value” people.

            3. Silence

              The “supplemental compensation” is a bit strange to me too. How prevalent is that? if the foundations are nonprofits, they’d likely need to report the supplemental comp on their 990’s.

              Here’s a question for any of my academic friends: If a professor is working on a grant, can they pay themselves additional money out of the grant? Would this be over and above their state salary? Would this additional compensation be reported on the state salary database?

            4. Mark Stewart

              That’s the bottom line, Katherine. The University Foundations exist to permit the schools to act as private institutions when convenient and as public ones when otherwise convenient.

              “Rebates”, specifically, are always a bad idea – public entities should negotiate transparent deals. I encounter them all too often; and just as often find that these promote a slippery slope separation between the best interests of the entity itself and the personal interests of certain individuals within the organization.

              Kickbacks are kickbacks no matter how these kinds of things are tarted up. Grease is always greasy.

            5. Kathryn Braun Fenner

              I mean when they pay Pastides more than his official state salary, thanks to generous donors….

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    I’m gratified that y’all are enjoying commenting here. But I’m feeling kinda weird that I’ve only had ONE comment on all of today’s several posts so far.

    I guess I just haven’t been interesting today…

Comments are closed.