Now Nau: Beer tycoon pays Dragas' Hill + Knowlton bills

At the recent retreat of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors inside the Richmond Omni hotel, a Hook reporter approached Board member John Nau to ask about his decision to cover the costs incurred by Rector Helen Dragas by hiring a New York-based public relations agency to put words in her mouth.

"Let's talk about that," replied Nau. "But not right now."

A day later, we asked him again, only this time he just walked away.

On August 23, the UVA communications office confirmed that Nau has agreed to pay the bills that Dragas incurred for communications services from Hill + Knowlton Strategies. UVA media representative McGregor McCance says in an email that Nau "believed this was a way he could help the University turn the page on recent events and refocus on the future."

A Houston-based beer executive, John L. Nau III is reportedly among the Rector's most trusted colleagues, and according to sources, was among the Board's more fervent backers of the recent presidential ouster.

As for the wordsmithing, two statements emerged after the Hook filed a Freedom of Information request seeking resignation-related documents. They included a June 19 email from Washington-based Hill + Knowlton executive John Ullyot giving Dragas two ways to go, after her lead anti-Sullivan cohort, Mark Kington, resigned his Board seat:

• "It's unfortunate that Mark felt the need to resign over an action that was taken with general board consensus, and one that I am confident will generally improve the strategic direction of the university..."

• "Today, I have asked the Governor not to reappoint me to a second term as Rector. As much as I'm certain that changing leadership will improve the strategic direction of the university, I simply believe that the actual selection of U.Va.'s next president should go forward under the fresh perspective of a new Rector..."

The Rector has since had her actions endorsed by the state's highest official, Governor Bob McDonnell, who reappointed her 10 days later to another four years on the Board. And Dragas has reversed herself on the topic of Teresa Sullivan's prowess and– if she ever really entertained it– on any serious thoughts of resigning.

"That day," she explains in a prepared statement, "my middle child celebrated her 16th birthday, sharply reminding me of how much time I've spent away from all three of my children and the impact that continued vitriolic attacks on their mother might have on them. After considering all options, as thoughtful people do, I decided to stay because I believe the issues at stake are very important, and I want to work with the President and others to find solutions that will benefit UVA."

The email from Hill & Knowlton's Ullyot carried "Re: statements" as its subject line, but the Freedom of Information request, curiously, produced no originating email from Dragas. University spokesperson Carol Wood notes that some people simply type "Re:" into their email subject line. Dragas would address the matter only through her prepared comment, and Ullyot issued a blanket no-comment policy to this reporter several weeks ago.

One earlier controversy emerged when Dragas disseminated a list of challenges supposedly requiring a more dynamic leader. That document, distributed June 21, would be widely criticized for noting challenges faced by nearly all public colleges, and life member of the UVA Alumni Association Janet Wilson found it suspiciously similar to the May 3 strategy memo penned by Sullivan and given to Dragas but never shared with the Board.

Another thing catching the eye of Wilson, a 1978 graduate living in Alexandria, was the authorship.

"Last night I looked at the metadata associated with the pdf version of this provided to the Washington Post," Wilson wrote to Dragas in another released email. "It appears that this is not solely your work, and instead it is the product of a Hill & Knowlton employee who didn't have the savvy to strip that metadata. Sure, you have the right to employ a PR firm, but must you be so obvious about it?"

Hill + Knowlton has become something of the go-to company in crisis control. The firm has controversially pushed cigarettes, war, and even helped a Florida apartment community struggling with defective wallboard. With such a pedigree, it's little surprise that Dragas– whose own real estate firm successfully appeased families after a subcontractor installed defective Chinese wallboard– would turn to Hill + Knowlton.

The source who first tipped the Hook off to the Hill + Knowlton hiring noted that the firm can quickly ring up bills of $50,000 and $100,000. On the night of the marathon Board meeting that deadlocked on returning Sullivan to the presidency, a stiletto-heeled woman was often seen scurrying between the Board room and the chamber across the hall. She took no questions.

As for Nau, having served over two decades as the leader of the nation's largest Anheuser-Busch distributorship, he has amassed a fortune that has put him on some of the country's leading boards and allowed him to make donations– including millions for a relatively new building at UVA that's part of the so-called South Lawn Project: Nau Hall.

With his donations to UVA measured at $11.7 million, he is by far the greatest giver on the UVA Board. Only Marvin Gilliam, another reported Sullivan opponent, comes anywhere close at $4.8 million.

A call to Nau's office after the Hill + Knowlton payment announcement was not immediately returned. But despite Nau's willingness to unseat her and pay for words criticizing her leadership, President Sullivan put a friendly spin on the news.

"President Sullivan expressed her gratitude," said the University's McCance, "for his generous gesture."

This story is a part of the President Sullivan retakes the reins special.


Come on Linwood don't give that dump a dime!

How much IS the bill, how much has been previously paid out of the endowment, and is the Hill and Knowlton propanganda firm still generating billable hours?

Nau says to a reporter "Lets talk alout that, but not now" on one day and just walks away the next?

To he** with him and his checkbook.

LOL.....THIS IS SO TRANSPARENT.......this says it all and the BoV is so corrupt that they actually think this will make all feel it's above board now. LOLOLOL....
What are these people smoking?????? Please share it!

Yeah, so you dupes thought that big money got what?

UVa is so fat with staff and admin is has to be supported outside.

Where do you thing UVa would be if big money stopped donating?

Do you pay attention to the real world instead of dancing to pixie dust?

Honest to god, you critize " staff and admin" when Dragas pi$$es hundreds of thousands of dollars away on a dip$hit propanganda firm?

What planet are you from?

Do you pay attention to the real world instead of dancing to pixie dust?

Crony capitalism?

Why not just change the name to Jones University and the Nau School of Philanthropy?


Whether anyone likes it or not, weight has become an issue in our society at all levels. The weight issue arose during the UVA travails this summer. And so, it was not off-the-wall to raise the issue at this point, particularly because it appears Sullivan has lost some weight over the summer. As a public figure, Sullivan avails herself of scrutiny of all types. particularly by the media, and she handled the issue with deftness at her news conference. For that, she should be applauded.

Interesting report and some more investigating will help. One question I would ask is, "did Nau pay the H+K bills in a manner that yielded a possible tax-deduction for charitable giving?"

My comments were misplaced. They have found their way to the proper story.

A faculty seat on the BOV? Where are they going to find a faculty member who is still connected to the real world, not isolated on The Magic Mountain? How could anyone imagine these seats were not for sale after Patricia K got hers.

@JH: "Do you pay attention to the real world instead of dancing to pixie dust?"

Translation: Who needs honor when you've got big bucks!?

Who authorized the expenditure of these funds to the propaganda firm in the first place? Is there no system of checks and balances in place. We are dealing with state funds here, are we not? I think the matter needs to be looked into very closely. Replacing misappropriated funds may not be the end of it.


What is Nau's relationship with the Curry School?

Yes, what IS Nau's relationship with Curry? And with other Curry Board members (like Hansen)?
Also, I heard the H&N folks were living it up at Clifton Inn and Boar's Head -- this true, Hawes?

I mean H & K, sorry.

I would love to know what these people pay in taxes . I work hard, am not wealthy, and pay over 20% in taxes . The rich are writing the tax laws and taking deductions for their good deeds , I too
want to know if Nau took this as a tax deduction .

I think a family member attended Curry. Seems unfair to pile on Nau. There was uproar about the PR bill so he stepped in so UVA wouldnt have to pay it. Dragas is the rector and should answer for her failure of leadership. Was there pressure from top donors to remove Sullivan? Seems so but SHE should have managed it appropriately. The governor is equally at fault in my view.

There is an unconfirmed report that Dragas volunteered to resign at the board retreat. Why didn't Nau and others accept her offer ? My guess, they were firmly behind removing Sullivan and still are. As long as Dragas and those board members who supported the coup remain, distrust will reign at UVa .

If you want to see how corrupt BOVs can be across the country, do a little research on Penn State Trustee (recently elected) Anthony Lubrano. An unapologetic supporter of Joe Paterno and the whole PSU football culture, he actually ran TV ads to campaign for a seat on the Board.

BTW, I am glad Nau has made his fortune in something so close to UVa's upstanding culture.

R.I.P.: Steve van Buren

Money corrupts. Power corrupts. Nothing new there. In the good old USA, the one percenters, or maybe the .1 percenters control EVERYTHING, and everyone else is subjected to their whims...

I think there needs to be an investigation as to who authorized the expenditures, what is the amount of the bill and what detailed services are charged and are the charges even valid.

If I use my corporate credit card to buy my kid a $60,000 car and then get his uncle to pay the bill before it is overdue doesn't mean I shouldn't be fired for extremely poor judgement.

This is all very concerning. If Mr. Nau made the $100,000 donation to the University, he doesn't have the right to determine the use of the gift or it is not a tax deductible gift. And if it was restricted to pay the H&K bill, there must be proof that the University and not Mrs. Dragas ordered the services. If the services were used to support her personally, the tax deduction is highly questionable.

Time for a lot of people to leave the BOV and time for Gov. McD to start looking for a real job. His days in politics are OVER!

Hmmm...I see I made two comments to the board while I was not online. Very interesting!

@ non-resident taxpayer - you may have scared off the mighty dozen that control this page.

Personally, I want Dragas removed for reason(s). She attempted to oust a completely gifted President of UVA. Enough is enough. I believe that if the faculty really cared they would seek remedy with their huge voice. Strike if necessary. Seriously. The faculty deserve a place on the board, a voting voice.

Nau has the money to support and remove whatever obstacles come in the way of his singular control of the University of Virginia. This is not education, this is communism. Controlled by NAU. I thought I was in America.

Nau is money deep in the "Curry School" and "Rector Dragas", and Houston entities...

Nau is disgusting, and I am a republican.

Nau is a Republican!!!!!

From the Richmond Times Dispatch, August 24, 2012:

"U.Va. spokeswoman Carol Wood said the university never received a copy of the invoice and that she does not know the amount. She also said she did not know whether the board is still using the firm's services.
A Hill+Knowlton spokeswoman declined to say whether the board is still a client, citing company policy.

Nau and Dragas did not respond to requests for comment."

This is corporate-speak on the part of Hill and Knowlton and Nau and Dragas that says:"Why yes,the back-stabbing continues apace! Did you expect anything less?"

This story just reinforces the narrative that the BOV is dominated by uber-wealthy corporate types who cover each others rears. They use their wealth in the Citizens United mode to distort democratic public bodies and processes.

Someone above asked what is Nau's relationship with the Curry School. Its a good question worth investigation by someone like Dave McNair. Let's not forget that the elites include deans and former deans and other administrators who have direct connections with the corporate ruling elites. Taking alcohol industry money like taking student loan industry money does not phase these people. They take money from anyone willing to give. despite the taint of the money, perhaps this type of philanthropic relationship is the oldest profession. I wish Dave McNair would do a story looking at a place like the Curry School Foundation and trace where all the money comes from and who is giving and what their motivations are and who makes up those types of boards. It not just the BOVs that is dominated by corporate and wealthy interests, its all of these networks pervading the University.

Forced reliance on corporate and private donors is THE problem for UVa. The system of funding public Universities is rotten to the core. I realize this would be anathema to University Administrators. If we actually cared about where the money was coming from, that well might have to be made up by the State actually supporting public universities through revenue generation. The exposure of Nau's funding the bill for H & K really shows the sickness of the entire system.

The story, also brings back the idea of responsibility and accountability for all those involved in the Sullivan ouster. Remind me again, which BOV members still on were really behind the attempted coup. It was not just Drags and Kington.

@George and the Richmond Times Dispatch, August 24, 2012:


If the BOV did not authorize a contact with H + K, then what were H + K personnel doing in the BOV meetings discussing things like personnel actions? This would seem to expose the BOV to legal actions as well void claims of confidentiality and privilege in terms of FOIA.

That's my immediate reaction. I am sure there are few good lawyers and other high thinkers here who could ponder for a mere few minutes and describe the manifold problems of the interaction between Nau, Dragas, the BOV, and H+K.

Who is H+K's client?!

From the Hook story:
"University spokesperson Carol Wood notes that some people simply type "Re:" into their email subject line."

I have never done this nor have I ever heard of anyone doing this. It beggars belief.

Carol Wood was close to Michael Strine. If you find out the real reason Strine was fired that will highlight another scandal. Please don't say it was because Strine was disloyal to Sullivan as that list is a page long.

Carol Wood has a very close relationship with NAU as well. No surprise. Connect the dots. Carol Wood plays stupid when convenient.

@ Carol Wood: The subject line of an email that is of great significance NEVER reads Re: The Subject line is always an attention grabber. Carol, please look into facts and stop your non-sense. Carol, you represent Nau and have undermined Dr. Sullivan as well.

Carol Wood and Nau were completely behind President Sullivan's ouster. The facts will prove Carol Wood's statements are based on what Hill & Knowlton offered as a counter to valid questions. Carol Wood must be fired and Dragas must resign. Nau can stay if he is reduced to a non-voting member of UVA.

What utter nonsense. Carol, do you think you are dealing with 8th grade minds?

What would be the consequence if UVa were not in compliance with the FOIA?

How would that be proved, by whom, et cetera?

all you care to know about the Virginia FOIA

§ 2.2-3714. Violations and penalties.

In a proceeding commenced against any officer, employee, or member of a public body under § 2.2-3713 for a violation of §§ 2.2-3704, 2.2-3705.1 through 2.2-3705.8, 2.2-3706, 2.2-3707, 2.2-3708, 2.2-3708.1, 2.2-3710, 2.2-3711 or § 2.2-3712, the court, if it finds that a violation was willfully and knowingly made, shall impose upon such officer, employee, or member in his individual capacity, whether a writ of mandamus or injunctive relief is awarded or not, a civil penalty of not less than $500 nor more than $2,000, which amount shall be paid into the State Literary Fund. For a second or subsequent violation, such civil penalty shall be not less than $2,000 nor more than $5,000.

"What would be the consequence if UVa were not in compliance with the FOIA?

How would that be proved, by whom, et cetera?"

People die in UVA land and these folks go unchecked. When you own the system of checks and balances who is going to check if you are in compliance. They own/influence the entire legal system in Cville and you're worried about an FOIA. I'll guarantee they didn't fully release everything hiding behind the terminology of the request. One wrong word and they use it as an excuse not to release certain info. It's called parsing words and meanings.

I cannot believe what I am reading on these posts. If UVA is out of compliance; NAU seems to be the one who should be the fall _person...

I would hope Dr. Sullivan would direct UVa's accountants and lawyers to look into the circumstances of the University hiring this propanganda firm and see if the charges are ongoing. I believe she has an obligation to the greater University community do so in any event.

If it turns out that it is an obligation incurred by Dragas that is being paid by Nau, then I think Dragas would be liable for paying income taxes on the "benefit" she is receiving. Also the amount paid would not be a total tax write-off for Nau. Unless the tax rules are just for the "little people".

I really would not want Dragas or Nau to get in trouble with the IRS .

"From the Hook story:
"University spokesperson Carol Wood notes that some people simply type "Re:" into their email subject line."

I have never done this nor have I ever heard of anyone doing this. It beggars belief."

You've really never heard of anyone doing this? Seriously dude? You are aware that all "Re:" means is "regarding" right?
I get many emails, especially from lawyers, that start out "Re:" They don't refer to any email that I've sent previously,

Just for the record, I'd be very happy if Ms Dragas found other interests to pursue, but some of you seem to be looking for a commie under every bed.

Re does usually mean "in regards to" or "about". It is derived from the Latin phrase "in re" which means "in reality".

Latin scholars and students please chime in.

There is huge relevance to a subject line. Re, RE, re suggests spam which is automatically deleted.

Anyone who uses RE in the Subject line of an email is playing games. This is a fact. If the subject line had a subject that was significant to readers; obviously, the subject line would have been something other than RE. Something of importance. Most intelligent individuals have RE screened from their emails and deleted as spam.

Who are you people suggesting that there is no relevance to the Subject line?

I have emails with RE sent to my trash immediately.

Disgusted with George et al who support this nonsense.

UVA should be ashamed at Dragas and Nau platitudes. Their ill attempt at covertly assigning blame to others makes me want to seek more truth. What is the truth Dragas and Nau. What is truth beyond your monies? I will not let this rest.

Completely disgusted by Nau and Dragas. They should both resign.

In my admittedly dysfunctional corner of the world I use "Re" and "Ref" in the headings of electronic and handwritten messages that refer to earlier discussions with my supervisor and coworkers, not necessarily in
reply to another written or electronic message.

Shoot me if you must, but it seems thin gruel with which to implicate Helen Woods in this train wreck. With so many villains trying to wash the blood off their hands, what is the point?

What's going on here:

Should we be talking about rehiring Michael Mann?

"@ non-resident taxpayer - you may have scared off the mighty dozen that control this page."

I don't believe I scared anyone off...I just found it very interesting that someone decided to use my "handle" to make comments. The management kindly agreed to remove them when I contacted them, and I have 'registered' so it won't happen again. I didn't necessarily disagree with them, but I also think it's interesting that more than H&K are playing at misdirection. The comments made in my name asserted that only seating a voting member of the faculty on the board would fix things; I do agree that someone selected by the faculty senate ought to have a voting seat on the board. One vote isn't enough, certainly, to veto a board majority, but it is enough to provide a watchdog function to improve transparency. Clearly - based on Ms. Hurd's performance - a student seat doesn't do the trick.

I had the opportunity this weekend to have a relatively long chat with a former two term BOV member who was incensed at the goings on over the summer, and asserted that this feeling was common among former BOV members.
I asked about a what they thought of the political theories and they asserted that this really did not start in Richmond, at least from what they heard (on their quite well connected grapevine), and that it was no political. Their sense, based on the chatter among the very-well-connected alumni and former board members, was that this was entirely a personality clash between Dragas and Sullivan, coupled with out of control ego of people like Paul Jones. Their sense was that the Board had, in some sense, become captive to the highest bidders. They were not as optimistic as I've been, but I also sense that this is far from over.

That's a pile of gossip hearsay, so take it as such, but that's at least as good as the wacky tea-leaf-reading and conspiracy theories that have been bouncing around the echo chamber. Their thesis was persuasive in that it had Occam's razor in it's favor: simple venality and egoism are more than enough to produce the mess we saw.

Can't buy the personality disorder theory. Whenever something goes bad like the OK bombing or the Tech shootings, or the Morrissey suicide, the media always reduce it to a personality or psychological disorder rather than an ideological-organizational issue.

I have a hard time looking at the evidence believing that this was just an interpersonal squabble between Dragas and Sullivan but about corporate/privatization agenda channeled by a few BOV members. Heard an interesting story on NPR this morning abut Gov. Bob's work trying to get the Port Authority privatized, e.g., his firing of the previous Port Authority and his staking of the new Port Authority with privatization market fanatics. There is a real serious agenda to privatize everything including higher education and didn't Gov. Bob recently spend time at a Koch Brother retreat?

While I whole heartedly agree that venality and egoism played a significant role as well as corporate hubris, behind every interpersonal squabble is a set of societal ideological issues getting worked out. Occam's doesn't always apply to large scale social issues these days. I would think twice before tossing this off to personality differences.

Need to keep digging on the real reasons behind this and in the end the real reasons may not matter as much as making changes in the BOV members and structure. Come to the FAculty Senate meeting tomorrow at Darden and look for a Town Hall meeting sponsored by legislators coming up.

I don't call this a "personality disorder" issue - just a clash of personalities. Neither party has to be a pathological or clinical head case to get into a nasty clash.

I do believe there is an ideological tilt towards "privatizing" government - the quicker and better to asset-strip it for $$$ - but in this case, the shoot-from-the-hip quality, very much unlike the attempt to privatize the ABC stores and the Port Authority, suggests that this is less planned out.

Unlike the Northrop-Grumman and VITA fiasco, I don't think UVa is a juicy state budget target to pluck and plunder.

@ Non-Resident

Not to get all conspiracy theory nutty on you but the personality explanation probably is related to multiple social agendas. Beg to differ, education and higher education is a significant market target, hence Goldman-Sachs' recent e-learning acquisition. And on the other end it is a juicy state budget target to underfund and starve with no taxation policies, efficiency and accountability attacks. Tenure is being attacked by the right as well.

Not sure on the less planned out argument. This privatization lust is in the water, the air, and in the retreats that the Koch Brothers plan as well as their policy efforts. The BOV members and politicians float around in a rarefied atmosphere where these corporate ideologies and schemes are talked about at cocktail parties, policy briefings, retreats all funded by corporate types with similar ACTA agendas. The planning for such private transformations is just not transparent as the Dragas cabal's work was done where the cockroaches hide.

If Gov. Bob did it to the Port Authority, what's to make you think he didn't either approve it in the UVA case (as suggested by Kiernan) or at least turn a blind eye to its agenda because it fits with his agenda in every other area of public policy?

No me thinks its more than a petty personality ego squabble. In any event, it has brought up larger issues and questions like who owns public higher education and what is the relationship between that ownership and governance? If it was merely a personality squabble it has opened up Pandora's box on large issues, hence Sullivan's recent comments about how this is a national issue and we will be watched by many around the country not to mention our accrediting body and the AAUP.

@non-resident - one cannot privatize government entities and hope to benefit beyond 5 years. Take a look at all the cases of State Prisons being privatized and then at the 5 year mark - they are no longer profitable. And, dying to revert to the public domain.

At the 5 year mark, private prisons want to be bought back by the tax payers once again. What a mess. This is not what are for-father's had in mind.

Our country has privatized entities, and profited via Wall Street, and this is a shambles. In the long run, all this "capitalism" will be our failure as a nation.

No other country has capitalized on the physical health of a nation. It will take time but in the long run, our Wall Street run health care system is UNHEALTHY. Any Wall Street actuary will prove this is true.

The same is going on with the online, privatization of Education. Education will be run by communists banking on the fact that America is asleep at the wheels. Punn intended via smart car by Sebastian Thrun.

The USA is an utter disgrace for buying into this Sebastian method.

I believe we need a separate United States of American Internet that controls access to our learning process; particularly if it's offered for FREE!

Come on USA!

Today's economy is so up-side-down that no one knows what is true and proven. No one understands the longer term consequences of actions, and no one cares.

Dismayed at best by the UVA BoV. Dragas is not who I want representing me as a tenured faculty member...

Money will buy anything these days at UVA. NOT my credentials. Not my tenure. I will be moving on to greener pastures since there is no voice for the faculty here at UVA.

Thanks a lot, Mr. Nau! Lot of money spent on defending Dragas; not one dollar spent on profs. When will the huge donors have a minimal voice and not one of ...losing faith in UVA.

I will be talking with one of these gazillion head hunters; makes sense now that I know UVA faculty have no voice on the Board of Visitors. Unbelievable.

Good riddance faculty 101. Your sinecure will pass to some other drone.

Faculty 101,

Exit is not the only option. Join the AAUP and get organized there at UVA. That's the only way faculty are going to get voice by organizing and demanding it. Don't panic, organize.

If public action could bring Sullivan back, so can it block Dragas' appointment by the legislature and it can change the make up of the BOV appointment process and include faculty and staff representation.

Don't leave, we need you here.

Please reconsider. Place your energies into helping us make the necessary changes at our University. We need everyone to close rank and take a stand for changes at UVA. All eyes are upon us and if we stick together we can make a difference.

If the General Assembly gives Dragas a "pass" THEN, and only then, look at your option of looking elsewhere. January is not that far off and we could use your help in blocking this appointment.

I love quotes and the situation at UVA reminds me of the following quote:

“What I didn't know was that if I didn't stand with my back to the wall, Hollywood people would unscrew my ass and sell it down the river. “
Joseph Wambaugh

@Weekend Reader - you are preaching to the choir - I am hardly a fan of privatization. However, as big as higher education budgets are, research institutions, unlike secondary education, not nearly as easily converted into widget factories. The public school sector is an enormous tax revenue stream from which the private sector would love to skim - so see charter schools (deregulation), and for-profit operators (Edison Schools, etc) pushed by shills like Michelle Rhee. As has frequently been pointed out during this summer's debacle: UVa gets well under 10% of it's budget from state coffers - there's neither a revenue stream to be tapped, nor any great 'savings' to be had.

The ABC stores, however, operate quite profitably, even owning their own real estate and having government workers with defined benefit pensions - purportedly the very thing that is destroying America. In fact, as study after study demonstrated, they earned the state far more as they are than any private scheme would. UVa just doesn't do anything like that, under either scenario - privatized or not.

I don't doubt that there are people like the Kochs who wish to 'capture' intellectual institutions - mainly to give berths to second-stringers of the same stripe as Glen Hubbard or Greg Mankiw - "intellectual" shills for the 1% - since places like Cato, Hoover, Heritage or AEI have become so discredited. But they've got that with George Mason - Mercatus - just check out the constant stream of policy spin pieces put out by people like Tyler Cowen, Russell Roberts, Todd Zywicki, Larry J. White and Arnold Kling. And Mercatus has a huge 'faculty', enough to be a push-piece paper mill, much more than traditional Econ/Business Schools. But these are not direct profit centers for the likes of the Kochs - they're an investment in agit-prop and building a 'movement'...straight up disinformation. Heaven help us if Romney wins and Mankiw and Hubbard - the two "economists" who oversaw the Bush-II Economy (and brought us the trainwreck of the credit and housing bubbles) get their hands back on the levers of the economy. We ought to declare open season on "Austrian" and "Chicago School" shills and stick with the empirical guys from Princeton, but I digress....

I only want to point out that he simplest solution, thesis or hypothesis which solves or explains any phenomenon is the most probable one, and in this case, lacking the juicy funding target to plunder - and UVa's budget is unsustainable right now - I'm skeptical of ideological or financial (privatization) theories. Group think idiocy by a bunch of people who mistake their own luck (of birth in most cases, timing in others) for business genius does seem much simpler and therefore more likely. It doesn't excuse it and it doesn't mean there aren't real threats from extremists with agendas.

I'm a lefty, but I am a capitalist American. The difference between my view and the Dragas (I inherited my Daddy's established business during the largest bubble in history) is this: I don't believe in the Horatio Alger myths - I think successful people are successful for three reasons: 1) they get lucky and get an opportunity, 2) they are lucky enough to have the means to capitalize on the opportunity and 3) they actually recognize and work hard to capitalize on it.

Most of this group - Dragas, Nau, Tudor-Jones - likes to pretend they did it all themselves, and parts 1 & 2 had nothing to do with it. Randal Kirk might come closest to being truly self-made, but he also had good accidents of friendly timing (our medical expenditures bubble) as well, though he clearly built his companies.

@ non-resident ta... - You have raised some interesting points, and I agree with you.

Seems the republican right have attempted to control education, state resource, and women's right. Well. Governor McDonnell, you bear a child via raping a woman and then have a say...ok? How dare Gov. McDonnell pretend that womens rights are not in jeopardy via this Romney position.

WOMEN HAVE RIGHTS; and a disgrace. Women have rights to their bodies and those POST MENOPAUSAL CHRISTIAN right woman should not be given a voice in our position. What a disgrace.


Loss for words -- all of you? Why isn't there any commentary here?

Because women should have rights? Absolutely!

Women should have HAD rights as long as men in America.

History proves otherwise.

I believe that reparations are in order for women in America just as the Japanese!

Women in America who can prove they are US citizens should demand reparations 100 times that of the Japanese. After all, we were born here.