Friday, January 29, 2016

University Professors of the World Unite under Dr. Reich!

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[JB note: My (granted picayune) efforts to get direct information from Professor Reich and his assistant (s?) on his salary were unsuccessful (however an initial cyber search did disclose some data) -- despite my hopes of who could be more objective for additional information on income equality and "open communications" than said Professor Facebook Reich.

So I again turned to the internet for more enlightenment and stumbled upon the below in a piece (2014) by Mark J. Perry in the American Enterprise Institute.]

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich is currently a professor of public policy at the University of California-Berkeley and he was paid $242,613 in 2013 according to this University of California database. According to this link provided in an article by the Daily Caller, Professor Reich is scheduled to teach only one undergraduate class this fall semester – Public Policy 260 – that meets only one day a week (Monday) for two hours (12 – 2 p.m.). That works out to about $2,500 for each hour of lecture time that Professor Reich will spend with UC-Berkeley students this semester, or about the same amount as the average adjunct college professor gets paid for teaching an entire one-semester 15-week class ($2,700 according to this AAUP report)! ...
In addition to his annual CU-Berkeley salary of $242,613, Professor Reich is also a popular speaker on the nation’s lecture circuit, and he commands a handsome speaking fee of $40,000 for a one-hour talk (including Q and A) plus first class travel for one or two people from California, hotel accommodations for up to two nights, ground transportation, meals and incidentals. That’s the quote I got today from one of Professor Reich’s speaking bureaus for his fee to give a presentation as part of a “university program” — it’s possible that he charges even more for corporate events. ...

U.S. Universities Raised a Record $40.3 Billion Last Year

image from

image from

[JB note -- Nothing wrong with generosity from rich people; but how it is applied is important, including to them.

So benefactors to USA institutions of higher learning could bear in mind, when they select how to help humanity by means of their riches, that many students at these institutions of higher learning have to get loans at excessive rates and that untenured "adjuncts" -- who do the bulk of the classroom teaching at these institutions, according to recent reports (among them) -- are essentially underpaid academic day/migrant workers with no job security, despite their educational credentials. 

Essentially, adjuncts are treated like underpaid supermarket check-out counter employees (God bless their souls) hired to charge "customers" for the products they purchase (at exhorbitant prices).

In contrast, university presidents (like college football coaches and their staff) get humongous salaries by USA middle-class standards. 

Not to speak of well-paid tenured professors at certain universities, who (to use academic jargon, "publish" as not to "perish" -- as if few people outside of academic guilds, actually read what they so often incomprehensibly "write.") 
At least one tenured professor was "honest,"  granted in a possibly different context: 

But for what purpose? One more minor "professor" attending yet another academic conference in Qatar?

Should not improving the financial status/opportunities of students and their classroom teachers be a no. 1 priority of American colleges/universities, which pride themselves on their "educational" global prestige? And should not more support to institutions of higher learning be used to remedy this sad situation?] 

Janet Lorin,

January 27, 2016 — 12:00 AM EST Updated on January 27, 2016 — 9:37 AM

Stanford University beat Harvard University once again in annual donations as U.S. universities raised a record $40.3 billion, bolstered by at least eight gifts of $100 million or more including art and rare books.

In the year through June 30, Stanford led with $1.63 billion, a record for an individual school, according to a survey of 273 institutions released Wednesday by the New York-based Council for Aid to Education, which tracks university giving. Harvard ranked second with $1.1 billion.

The gifts show that the nation’s wealthiest colleges continue to attract a disproportionate share of higher education philanthropy. The top 20 fundraising schools accounted for 28.7 percent of the total donations. The eight gifts of $100 million or more were received by just four schools, with four going to Stanford and two to Northwestern University. Total charitable contributions rose 7.6 percent while the Standard and Poor’s 500-Stock Index gained 4.6 percent.

“Donors want to be confident that the institution to which they transfer such assets can steward them effectively,” Ann Kaplan, the survey’s director, said in an e-mail. “That means an institution that receives gifts to the endowment must have a track record of good returns on endowment assets.”

Two branches of a family from the Bay Area donated an art collection to Stanford, valued at more than $600 million. The 121 artworks include paintings by Frank Stella, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning, and are displayed at a gallery on the Stanford campus that opened in 2014.

The survey said Stanford also received two donations in the fiscal year of $100 million and $106 million, which support activities in the medical center, including two hospitals and its school of medicine, according to the school.

“Increasingly people are looking to the research university in this country to help resolve some of the intractable problems that are facing human kind,” Martin Shell, who oversees Stanford’s fundraising, said in a phone interview.

“Universities are seen as positive agents of change and people want to be part of that.”

The school, with an endowment of $22.2 billion as of August 2015, has topped the list for the past decade, with the exception of the year ended June 2014, according to the survey. That’s when Harvard led with $1.16 billion, setting a record at the time for the most raised in a single year.

Books, Manuscripts

Northwestern’s gifts for fiscal 2015 included $100 million from Roberta Buffett Elliott, sister of Warren Buffett, for an institute of global studies, and $100 million from a couple for an institute of biotechnology in medicine. The Evanston, Illinois-based school, which ranked ninth on the survey, raised $537 million. The Pritzker family pledged $100 million for the law school in October, some of which will be captured in the next survey.

Donors see the impact these gifts can make, “not just on the institution, but on the world,” Morton Schapiro, Northwestern’s president, said in a phone interview. “They are excited about what you could do with their money: bold, new strategic plans that can really transform not only the university, but allow us to do a much better job in our public missions.”

The other $100 million and more gifts went to the University of California-San Francisco, which ranked fourth with $608.6 million, and Princeton University, according to the survey. Princeton raised the eighth-largest amount, $549.8 million, which included its largest gift ever -- 2,500 rare books and manuscripts valued at $300 million.

In the year ended June 2014, schools received five gifts of $100 million or larger, a total of almost $700 million, according to the survey.

The survey asks schools for the top three donors in four categories -- by a living individual, a bequest, companies and foundations.

Schools in the top 10 also included the University of Southern California with $653 million; Cornell University, $590.6 million; Johns Hopkins University, $582.7 million; Columbia University, $552.7 million; and the University of Pennsylvania, $517.2 million, according to the survey.

Gifts from alumni increased 10.2 percent to $10.9 billion, and non-alumni donations rose 23.1 percent to $8 billion, according to the survey. Charitable support from foundations including family foundations increased 3.6 percent while corporate giving was flat.

Contributions to schools’ operations increased 13 percent, according to the survey. Gifts for capital purposes, such as endowments, property or buildings, were flat.

Politicians in Washington are once again taking a close look at endowment spending and their tax exempt status. One draft proposal would require donors to designate at least 25 percent to financial aid if they want a tax deduction.

(Updates with background on $100 million gifts in 12th paragraph. A previous version corrected the name of Northwestern's president.)

How to understand Putin's Russia in less than a minute?

via AH/MT on Facebook

Title of entry: This drunk driver could remember only one thing, but in Russia it’s the most important thing
 10:58, 28 JANUARY 2016 EFIR
The Kazan-based television station Efir24 recently aired a news broadcast about a man arrested for driving while heavily intoxicated. The man was so drunk that he nearly passed out while being interrogated by police officers. This is the dialogue between the officer and the driver captured on film:
Vital knowledge (on an instinctual level). / serg k
Whose car is this?
Don't know.
Did you steal it or something?
Yeah, probably.
Who'd you steal it from?
Don't know.
And how much have you had to drink today?
Don't know.
You don't know anything, eh?
Well who's the president of the Russian Federation? Do you know?
Yes. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.
According to Efir24, this knowledge of Putin didn't help. The full 20-minute TV show episode (about car accidents) can be viewed here (in Russian).

AK-47s Will Be Manufactured in Florida Beach Town; via a FB friend


AK-47s Will Be Manufactured in Florida Beach Town

AK-47s Will Be Manufactured in Florida Beach Town

Thanks to U.S. sanctions on Russia, a small Florida city is getting a boost to its local economy. Iconic Russian arms maker Kalashnikov is setting up a factory in Pompano Beach, where it will manufacture the line of its rifles that are available in the United States.
The Kalashnikov Concern, a major Russian defense firm and the maker of the ubiquitous AK-47 assault rifle, was among the Russian firms slapped with sanctions in 2014. As a result, the company’s U.S. subsidiary severed all ties with its Russian parent company.
By the time the sanctions were unveiled, Kalashnikov USA had planned to move its operation to Florida from its manufacturing operation in Pennsylvania. That move was accelerated by the Treasury Department’s penalties against the company, said Kalashnikov USA spokeswoman Laura Burgess.
Kalashnikov USA was established to help the Russian arms maker to import its wares to the United States. But the company switched to making weapons in America to get around the 2014 sanctions.
According to Burgess, the company hopes to have production up and running by the second quarter of this year. It is not yet clear how many workers Kalashnikov plans to hire in Florida, nor how many weapons the company plans to produce, Burgess said. The Pompano Beach factory will manufacture rifles — including variants of the AK-47 — and shotguns.
The AK-47 is the world’s most popular assault rifle and has served as a mainstay of armed conflict since its invention in 1947. Its large-scale production in the Soviet Union, ease of use, reliability, and price point has made it a favored weapon of armed forces, guerrillas, and terror groups worldwide. Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden was rarely seen without a special forces-version of the AK-47 that was swiped from a dead Russian trooper during the Afghan war, and the weapon has become an instantly recognizable symbol of armed resistance.
Now, the modern incarnation of that rifle will be churned out on a Florida assembly line.

Директор Института Маккейна предложил закрыть доступ к российским СМИ на Западе

Via GC on Facebook

Директор Института Маккейна предложил закрыть доступ к российским СМИ на Западе
Закрыть канал RT и агентство Sputnik для западной аудитории в качестве противостояния «российской PR-машине» предложил директор Института Маккейна и бывший глава американской организации Freedom House Дэвид Крамер в интервью литовской газете Veidas.
Крамер привел два способа противостояния «российской пропаганде». Первый - отслеживать активы финансируемых российскими властями СМИ, в частности, RT и Sputnik. В качестве «агрессивной» меры он допустил простое закрытие таких изданий для западных зрителей «не за то, что они публикуют, а за то, откуда они берут деньги».
Второй способ - оказать финансовую поддержку СМИ, которые предназначены как для аудитории России, так и для всего восточноевропейского региона.
По мнению Крамера, российскую «пропаганду» можно без проблем отфильтровать, ведь действия Москвы «говорят сами за себя».
Дэвид Крамер, бывший президент Freedom House, сейчас представляет организацию, созданную сенатором Джоном Маккейном. Институт Маккейна (International Republican Institut [sic - JB) - некоммерческая организация, провозглашающая своей целью оказание помощи отдельным странам в строительстве демократии, работает в тесном сотрудничестве с Госдепартаментом и некоторыми фондами, занимающимися финансированием различных политических сил в мире.

François Hollande en Inde : il a emmené Elsa Zylberstein dans ses valises

via GD on Facebook

RETOUR AUX SOURCES - Un an après avoir emmené Mélanie Laurent et Marion Cotillard aux Philippines en vue de la COP 21, François Hollande s'est rendu en Inde avec d'autres acteurs du domaine culturel. Et qu'elle ne fut pas notre surprise de découvrir qu'Elsa Zylberstein faisait partie du voyage en compagnie de Marjane Satrapi, entre autres.

Elsa Zylberstein fait rayonner la France à l'étranger et c'est à ce titre, qu'elle était l'invitée de François Hollande en Inde.
Elsa Zylberstein fait rayonner la France à l'étranger et c'est à ce titre, qu'elle était l'invitée de François Hollande en Inde.
Montage photo AFP

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Clem Cecil | Photograph:  Country Life
Clem Cecil | Photograph:  Country Life; from entry
Clementine Cecil has been appointed the new executive director of Pushkin House.
She succeeds Ursula Woolley, who has led the growth of the House for more than three years, expanding the programme of events, building partnerships with leading cultural institutions, enhancing its reputation and increasing audiences.
Pushkin House is a UK charity which showcases the best in contemporary and classical Russian culture, arts and society through events including exhibitions, performances, the visual arts, cinema, talks, children’s events and its celebrated annual Book Prize.  It is run by a board of Russian and British trustees, independent of any government.
Clem is a Russian-speaking specialist in language, literature and architectural preservation, with many years’ experience working in, and with, Russia, initially as correspondent for The Times, then as co-founder of the Moscow Architecture Preservation Society.  She has co-edited four books on Moscow, St Petersburg and Samara. For the past four years she has been director of SAVE Britain’s Heritage and SAVE Europe’s Heritage.
Clem said: “I am delighted to be moving to Pushkin House to continue my work with Russian culture. I am passionate about Pushkin House’s mission to effectively convey the best of Russian culture to a UK audience, and to provide a lively, informal meeting-place for those interested in Russia. I have always admired Pushkin House and feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to continue to develop its outstanding programme.”
Ursula is moving on to pursue research interests, in a related field.  She said: “It has been a pleasure and a privilege to lead Pushkin House over the last few years.  Its long history and networks in the UK and in Russia have great cultural and social value and I believe there is no better person than Clem to develop the role of Pushkin House over the coming years.”
Sergei Ostrovsky and Craig Kennedy, co-chairs of the Board of Trustees of Pushkin House, said: “We are thrilled to appoint Clem as executive director. She brings to Pushkin House a formidable combination of skills, experience and commitment.  We know she will provide inspired leadership as Pushkin House pursues its mission to host the best in Russian culture, art and ideas. We also want to thank Ursula for her tremendous contribution over the last few years. She leaves behind a rich legacy for Clem to build on.  We wish her the best in her new ventures.” 
 The press release issued announcing Clem's appointment is available here.

Hollande-Rouhani lunch scrapped after Elysée Palace 'refused to remove wine from menu'

The lunch with François Hollande was reportedly dropped as the French refused to bow to demand for halal meat to be served and for the wine to be left off the table

François Hollande and Hassan Rouhani
François Hollande and Hassan Rouhani Photo: Rex/EPA

France, unlike Italy, has reportedly refused to take wine off the table for Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, meaning he will lunch alone during his historic trip to Paris – the first for an Iranian leader in 17 years.
As anger mounted in Rome on Wednesday over a decision to cover up nude statues with large white panels so as not to offend Mr Rouhani, the French have already made it clear that no such cultural concessions would be made regarding its cherished gastronomy.
In Rome, alcohol was not served at an official dinner held in Mr Rouhani’s honour – a standard Italian diplomatic gesture for visiting Muslim dignitaries.
But in Paris, an originally planned lunch at the Elysée Palace with François Hollande was dropped because the French refused to cede to the Iranian presidency's demand for halal meat to be served and for the wine to be left off the table, citing “republican traditions”.
Alcohol consumption is no laughing matter in Iran, whose culture ministry has just banned the word “wine” from books published in the Islamic Republic on the grounds that it amounts to the “cultural invasion” of the West.
Covered statues at the Capitoline Museums, during a visit from Iran's President Hassan Rouhani (inset)
The French reportedly suggested a compromise breakfast meeting instead, but the Iranians were reportedly unhappy with this, saying it was “too cheap”.
So the two presidents are due to meet outside of mealtime on Thursday at the Elysée, where Mr Rouhani will nevertheless be “treated with all the honours of the Republic”, according to a diplomatic source.
The trip comes after the end of economic sanctions prompted by a deal to curb Iran's nuclear activities.
Mr Rouhani was to begin his trip to Paris by meeting company executives. He will deliver a speech to business leaders on Thursday at a Franco-Iranian forum, and hold face-to-face talks with the Total and Airbus bosses.
Several deals are due to be announced after his meeting with Mr Hollande, including one to buy 114 Airbuses. Carmakers Peugeot and Renault may also agree contracts.
Over in Italy, which rolled out the red carpet to Mr Rouhani, a row over the decision to conceal nude Rome-era statues in the Capitoline Museum intensified on Wednesday.
President Rouhani walks with the pontiff
Dario Franceschini, the culture minister, said: "I think there easily would have been other ways to not offend an important foreign guest without this incomprehensible choice of covering up the statues."
Neither he nor Matteo Renzi the prime minister, had been informed of the decision, Mr Franceschini insisted amid the furore over a move that some politicians slammed as “cultural submission”.
Mr Rouhani laughed on Wednesday when asked at the end of a three-day visit to Italy about the statue cover-up, which made headlines in Italy and around the world. He said Iran made no specific request for the cover-up, saying there were "no contacts about this" from the Iranian side.
But he added: "I know that Italians are a very hospitable people, a people who try to do the most to put their guests at ease and I thank you for this."
The Paris leg of his trip is expected to be more low-key than in Italy given France’s hard line in nuclear negotiations, outspoken condemnation of Tehran's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and close ties with Sunni states.
"It's true that Iran has returned to the international community, but it doesn't mean we agree on everything, especially on Syria," Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, said on Wednesday.
Mr Hollande will discuss human rights and executions in Iran, his aides said, as opponents of the Iranian government prepare to protest across Paris on Thursday.
"Rolling out the red carpet for Rouhani by European governments is to welcome the godfather of terrorism and fundamentalism," said Maryam Rajavi, head of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Russia Faces Something Worse than Disintegration, Oreshkin Says

            Staunton, January 27 – Russia faces something even worse than disintegration, a long period in which the regions ignore Moscow because Moscow has insufficient funds to ensure their loyalty lest they lose all chance of getting money in the future and in which Moscow ignores how them are ignoring the center lest it provoke secession, Dmitry Oreshkin says.

            In a comment for Apostrophe, the Russian commentator says recent events in Chechnya point not to disintegration, as some predict and others want, but rather to a situation in which Moscow and Grozny increasingly ignore one another but in which they avoid any final break (

            That is a truly unstable and unpredictable situation, one that could be described although Oreshkin doesn’t use this term, as a failed state, a place where lots of institutions have power but where there is no single controlling center able to ensure consistency across its territory. Such states are especially dangerous as they may seek to resolve their problems via aggression abroad. 

           Such states may continue to exist with the same borders but their politics will be fundamentally altered, with the center and the periphery living in very different realities and with the risk that one or the other could miscalculate and send the country into a death spiral all too real.

            (For discussion of this possibility, see this author’s “Russia as a Failed State,”Baltic Defense Review, 12:2 (2004), at and  
“Russia ‘a Failed State’ Because It Doesn’t Enforce Its Own Laws, Shtepa Says” (

            The reasons many are talking about the possibility of the disintegration of the Russian Federation is the economic crisis, Orseshkin says, because “in Russia, any economic crisis always acquires a geographic dimension,” given the extreme centralization of the Russian economy.

            Moscow collects the money and sends part of it back to the regions, but at present, there are “fewer than ten donor regions” and “a minimum of 76” who rely on federal subsidies.  If the center runs out of money, the leaders of the latter face “stress” from two directions given that the center has imposed unfunded liabilities and that local elites can’t raise enough money locally.

            Such officials invariably explain their problems in the following way: “Moscow isn’t giving” what it should. “Such appeals very well confirm the thesis that the crisis is acquiring a geographic dimension” given that “Moscow is guilty of everything.” But they can’t break with Moscow lest they not get any funds in the future.

            In the Russian Federation now as in the Soviet Union at the end, “the most depressed regions are the last to begin to accuse Moscow because they are most depend on subsidies from it.” But those who most actively sought to escape from the USSR were precisely those like the Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians who were relatively better off.

            Those who are better off now are those which can produce more oil and gas or sell more agricultural goods or are the site of defense industry, Oreshkin says; but those are precisely the ones who are dependent on Moscow in other ways in order to get money for what they extract or build.

             Chechnya is a major recipient of federal aid, but the situation is complicated by the fact that Kadyrov “has in fact created a sovereign state in which there is its own law and economy, even though it is subsidized.” But Moscow “doesn’t actually control it.” The center provides money but “Kadyrov spends it as he likes.” In such a situation, he isn’t ready to try to secede.

            As for other regions, their leaders will try to get what they can and Moscow will increasingly recognize that it has lost control over exactly what they do with the subsidies.  Calling for secession is political death, but ignoring Moscow is increasingly possible – and hence the common legal space Putin promoted earlier will disappear.

            Instead, the regional elites will use whatever money they do get as they like, “and the Kremlin will look through its fingers at their activity in the region.” All will be as satisfied as they can be with limited resources, but the Russian Federation will increasingly look like anything but a unified state.

Only in America?

Oprah Winfrey loves bread and investors love Oprah.
After the mogul tweeted a video of herself Tuesday afternoon proclaiming she had lost 26 pounds while eating bread every single day on a Weight Watchersdiet, shares of the diet company (WTW) skyrocketed more than 20%, closing at $13.29 a share. 
Just a half hour before the money-making tweet, which went out around noon, Weight Watchers’ stock was trading at $11.35 a share.
As a result, Oprah — who owns 6.4 million shares, or roughly 10% of the stock, according to data from S&P Capital IQ —earned $12.5 million dollars on a single tweet, or more than $3 million an hour.
Add in her 3.5 million Weight Watchers’ stock option, which she disclosed in October, and Oprah made a whopping $19.2 million Tuesday, or close to $5 million an hour.

Winfrey took a 10% stake in Weight Watchers last year — nearly 15% including options — a move that made investors giddy then too and has helped revive the struggling company. Shares moved more than 100% the day of her announcement, making Winfrey $70 million. Shares jumped again at the end of the year when Winfrey tweeted a video of herself talking about why she joined Weight Watchers, writing "let's do this together."
Hadley Malcolm on Twitter: @hadleypdxdc.