Archive for the ‘Austin’ Category

UT Admissions Scandal 10X Worse Than Previously Admitted

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

We’ve known, from the drips and dabs that slipped out, that the UT admissions scandal was worse than the Kroll report actually let on. But we didn’t know it was ten times worse:

At least 764 applicants initially denied admission to the University of Texas were admitted thanks to a backdoor program for the wealthy and politically connected administered by former president Bill Powers.

More than 200 of those applicants were admitted despite having their applications cancelled by the Admissions Office.

The total is more than 10 times the 73 applicants widely reported from an investigation paid for by the university and conducted by Kroll Associates. Kroll withheld the full findings from its 107-page final report.

More:

The Kroll investigation confirmed what had been common knowledge in the wealthy Dallas-area community of Highland Park, which includes UT Regent Wallace Hall and House Education Committee chair Dan Branch: students were getting into UT at extraordinary rates, despite bad grades.

UT admitted seven Highland Park students with grade point averages below 2.0 and SAT scores below 800.

Also this:

The very worst of the students UT admitted, the investigation showed, were clustered in the districts of Branch, House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio), and Sen. Kirk Watson, (D-Austin).

Straus has gone to even greater lengths than UT to cover up the abuses. He authorized a special committee operating behind the scenes in an effort to impeach Hall for asking too many questions about the admissions process.

A very cynical part of me wonders if this is the root of Straus’ stranglehold on the Speaker’s office: his power as the go-to fixer for getting unqualified students into UT.

If you hadn’t heard, Wallace Hall, who uncovered the scandal, is suing UT chancellor William McRaven for access to the documents Texas attorney general Ken Paxton has already said he’s entitled to.

Indeed, UT’s dishonest coverup may be a big factor in the Supreme Court in agreeing to hear an appeal on Fisher vs. University of Texas, “a 2008 lawsuit brought by a white student claiming the university’s diversity-seeking admissions system had unfairly deprived her of admission.”

The Dallas Observer‘s Jim Schutze (who, unlike myself, favors affirmative action) explains:

The court did receive a blistering friend-of-the-court brief (see copy below) from the Cato Institute, a conservative think-tank, in support of Fisher’s request to be heard again. The Cato brief called the court’s attention to an investigation of admissions at UT that grew out of the Hall disclosures. Cato told SCOTUS the investigation proved that UT’s “claimed diversity rationale is a sham.”

That would be new evidence, maybe. But if it goes to the university’s core integrity – if the university has been lying to the courts about why it handles admissions the way it does – then maybe it’s not so new. Maybe it goes right to the heart of the existing case.

We have talked here often before about revelations brought forward by Hall showing that the former president of the university and some of the regents were handing out undergraduate admissions to sons and daughters of influential state legislators the way favors of love are distributed in a bawdy house. But does that kind of corruption go to the affirmative action question?

Nobody knows if the Cato amicus brief played any role at all in the high court’s eventual decision to rehear Fisher. But if it did, this would be why: When the Supreme Court ruled in 2013 to send Fisher back down to the 5th Circuit, the court said the lower court needed to take a tougher look at the university’s admissions policies. The Supreme Court told the lower court not to just take the university at its word but to examine the university’s admissions closely under a doctrine called “strict scrutiny.”

The 5th Circuit basically said yeah, yeah, OK, we strict scrutinied them, and we still trust them. So the 5th Circuit upheld the university. Fisher appealed back to the Supreme Court saying the 5th Circuit hadn’t really done the strict scrutiny strictly enough.

Then along comes the Wallace Hall evidence of an under-the-table secret admissions program the university forgot to tell the courts about. In fact, Hall’s investigation found evidence of lying, destruction of documents, coercion – enough story lines for an entire season of The Sopranos, all having to do with UT admissions.

A Supreme Court case is likely to bring national attention to a scandal the local mainstream media has tried to downplay or bury. And if it turns out UT actually lied to the courts, well, that sort of thing tends to make federal judges a mite testy…

(Hat tip: Push junction.)

LinkSwarm for June 26, 2015

Friday, June 26th, 2015

The problem with doing a LinkSwarm is there’s just no end to links! I suppose I could post each and every one as I find it, but then I’d be be traveling in the wake of Instapundit, without his indefatigable will. (Or, this week, his army of star assistants.)

Anyway, these are from the last few weeks:

  • Nothing says “religion of peace” quite like crucifying children for breaking a Ramadan fast.
  • Speaking of Ramadan, Muslims kicked it off in the now-traditional manner: Blowing up the mosques of other Muslims. (Hat tip: JihadWatch.)
  • ObamaCare has fallen short of its enrollment target, hiked insurance premiums, failed to cut down on ER visits, and flopped in its attempt to improve hospitals’ bottom line.
  • ObamaCare is sputtering.
  • Hawaii kills its ObamaCare exchange.
  • China’s dredging on Mischief Reef has united the rest of Asia against it.
  • China tries debt swap financing for the Ghost Cities.
  • “Barack Obama has been the most successful person in history when it comes to electing Republicans to Congress.”
  • Donating to a tsunami victim charity? Don’t forget that Bill Clinton gets his cut.
  • Bill and Hillary and The King of Gay Porn.
  • Not just Bill and Hillary: Even Clinton underlings got Arab money while working for the government.
  • 20 revelations about the U.S. and Israel from Obama’s ex-Israeli ambassador’s new book.
  • Americans prefer not to live where the law-abiding are disarmed.
  • Obama’s plans to muzzle gun-related speech.
  • Ted Cruz introduces legislation to eliminate Obama’s illegal alien amnesty slush fund.
  • “What we’re dealing with is a mayor who is universally acknowledged to be bumbling and incompetent.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • LOL.
  • The Huffington Post: Hell on earth. (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • You too can enjoy and spread “white privilege” to your children, no matter your color!
  • The “pecking disorder” among Social justice Warriors.
  • “He ain’t do no wrong — he just shot a cop.”
  • Remember that ultra-irritating piece on life on the Upper East Side? Not so fast.
  • Ouch.
  • Heh.
  • Don’t order the Chong Chin Chicken at Asia Cafe.
  • Belated News: Grand Jury No-Bills John Daub

    Thursday, June 25th, 2015

    I missed this good news when it came out on June 2, but a Travis County Grand Jury has declined to indict John Daub in the self-defense shooting death of a home intruder who turned out to be autistic.

    And his blog, Stuff from Hsoi, is available again.

    Hutto Police Officer Murdered On Duty

    Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

    Hutto police Sergent Chris Kelly was was killed in the line of duty today after being run over by a suspect during a traffic stop. (The suspect is in custody.) Kelly was a USAF veteran, and left behind a wife and two children.

    Police work is deeply necessary for civilized society, and occasi0onally very dangerous…

    Texas vs. California Update for June 24, 2015

    Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

    It’s been a while since I did a Texas vs. California update, so this is going to be a meaty one:

  • The Texas Comptroller has released a 50 state overview of how Texas stacks up to other states. There’s a lot of information to mine there. A few nuggets”
    • Texas ranks first as the best state for business, while California ranks 50th.

    • Texas ranks as the best state for net migration; California ranks 49th.
    • There are area in need of improvement. Texas ranks 49th in states whose residents over 25 hold high school diplomas. California? 50th.
  • Texas has enjoyed 100 straight months of unemployment below the national average. (Now it’s 101 months, but I can’ find a link right at the moment.)
  • The previously mentioned California pension reform ballot initiative has been filed.
  • Can it help California voters avoid pension armageddon?
  • “Low Taxes And Economic Opportunity In Texas Lead To Youth Population Boom.”
  • I was unaware that CalPERS owns its own planned community in Mountain House, California, and which it’s invested more than $1 billion in. A community that in 2008 was the most underwater in terms of mortgages in the entire country, and which was estimated to be worth only $200 million at some point. And now their water is being cut off due to the drought. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Speaking of the drought, California is running on empty:

    We suffer in California from a particular form of progressive immorality predicated on insular selfishness. The water supplies of Los Angeles and the Bay Area are still for a year longer in good shape, despite the four-year drought. Neither area is self-sufficient in water; their aquifers are marginal and only supply a fraction of their daily needs. Instead these megalopolises depend on intricate and expensive water transfer systems — from Northern California, from the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and from the Colorado River — that bring water and life to quite unnatural habitats and thereby allow a MGM or Facebook to thrive in an arid landscape that otherwise would not support such commerce and population. Without them, Atherton would look like Porterville.

    Quiet engineers in the shadows make it all work; the loud activists in the media seek to make it unwind. These transfers have sterling legal authority and first claims on mountain and northern state water. If Latinos in Lemon Cove are going without household water, Pyramid Lake on I-5 or Crystal Springs Reservoir on 280 are still full to the brim.

    Why then do those who have access to water delivered in a most unnatural way seek to curtail supplies to others? In a word, because they are either ignorant of where their own water comes from or they have not a shred of concern for others less blessed, or both. We will confirm this ethical schizophrenia should a fifth year of drought ensue. Then even the most sacrosanct rights of transferred water will not be sufficient to accommodate the San Francisco and Los Angeles basins. Mass panic and outrage will probably follow, and no one will care a bit about the delta smelt, or a few hundred salmon artificially planted into the San Joaquin River watershed, or a spotted toad that holds up construction of an urgently needed reservoir.

    The greens who pontificate about the need to return the San Joaquin watershed to its 19th-century ecosystem will become pariahs. When the taps run dry in Hillsborough and Bel-Air, very powerful people will demand water for their desert environs, which will in fact begin to return to the deserts that they always were as the thin veneer of civilization is scraped away.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • Hey, remember how California’s are always saying “Sure, Texas has lower taxes, lower cost of living, and better job growth, but California’s awesomely moderate weather beats Texas’ summer heat hands down!”?

    Yeah, not so much this year… (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • California legislature votes to reinstate Kelo-like seizure of private property for private development use. Shamefully, 12 Republicans joined Democrats to vote for eminent domain abuse.
  • “Pension payments are starving basic city services.”
  • A Marin County grand jury wants more openness about government employee salaries and pensions. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Of the four “minority majority” states, minorities in Texas are doing best.
  • California farm workers are suing to get the United Farm Workers out of their lives and pockets.
  • Among cities with high prices and stagnant wage growth, California has the nine worst, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Clara and San Jose.
  • Because California homes just didn’t cost enough already, new energy regulations are going to make them even more expensive.
  • The San Bernardino sheriff’s department has used a “stingray” to capture cell phone communication over 300 times in the past year or so without a warrant.
  • Apple continues expanding in Austin.
  • Texas is one of the states General Electric might leave Connecticut for.
  • California-based retailer Anna’s Linens files for Chapter 11.
  • California holding company Premier Ventures uses yet another bankruptcy filing to prevent an Akron, Ohio mall from being sold at auction. (Previously.)
  • Not news: California bankruptcy filing. Still not news: From a fraud judgment. News: For a lawsuit first filed in 1989.
  • Public Integrity Unit Oversight Removed From Travis County

    Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

    Democrats won’t be able to launch partisan witch hunts against statewide Republican officeholders from the Travis County Prosecutor’s Office anymore, as Governor Greg Abbott has signed the bill stripping oversight of the statewide Public Integrity Unit from the Travis County prosecutor’s office

    “Under House Bill 1690, the Public Integrity Unit would be shifted from Travis County to the Texas Rangers – part of the Department of Public Safety – which would take charge of investigating alleged corruption among public officials. District attorneys from the home county of the accused would prosecute the cases.”

    Travis County Democrats in general, and District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg in particular, have only themselves to blame. Both Lehmberg and equally partisan predecessor Ronnie Earle have pursued vindictive and flat-out-fraudulent cases against Republican officeholders, from Rep. Tom Delay (accused of violating a law that hadn’t been enacted at the time, and whose conviction was overturned and converted into an outright acquittal) to Kay Bailey Hutchison.

    But it was Rosemary Lehmberg’s actions that pretty much sealed the fate of the Public Integrity Unit. The video of following her DUI arrest (when she decided that rolling around Austin with an open bottle of vodka in the car and a blood alcohol level of .239 would just be a swell idea) lead to Governor Rick Perry demand for her to resign. When she refused, Perry carried through with his threat to veto funding for the Public Integrity Unit, at which point the Travis County prosecutor’s office indicted Perry for using his constitutionally enumerated veto powers.

    If it hadn’t been for Lehmberg’s poor judgment and criminal activity, and and the grossly partisan overreach of herself and Earle, the legislature would never have felt compelled to act.

    Given the sterling reputation of the Texas Rangers, the unit is now in far better hands, and the move to their oversight takes effects September 1.

    Gov. Abbott Signs Open and Campus Carry Bills

    Saturday, June 13th, 2015

    This afternoon, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the Open Carry and Campus Carry bills into law at Red’s Indoor Range in Pflugerville. (I can tell you from experience that it’s hard enough to get a shooting lane at Red’s even when the governor isn’t there.)

    Note that as per the actual text of the open carry bill, open carry for CHL holders goes into effect January 1, 2016. I’ve seen various commentators cite a date of September 1st, but that’s just the date for various Texas agencies to have administrative plans in place for complying with the new regulations. So don’t go wearing your holsters in public on September 1st, or you’re likely to receive a very rude awakening…

    Kroll Report Whitewashed Low LSAT Scores at UT Law

    Friday, June 12th, 2015

    Remember the Kroll Report, the look into the University of Texas’ system of preferential admissions for unqualified friends and relatives of the well-connected? The one that showed UT Regent Wallace Hall was right and his critics were wrong?

    Now it turns out that the Kroll report whitewashed some aspects of the UT scandal, namely how low the LSAT scores were for some of those well-connected applicants:

    “Of 6,155 admitted applicants from 2010 to 2014, only four were admitted with an LSAT score below 150,” Kroll reported. Also, “During the time period reviewed, we found only two applicants who were admitted with both an undergraduate GPA below 3.0 and LSAT score below 155; however, both applicants belonged to an under-represented minority group and had valuable public sector experience before applying to law school.”

    Actually, Kroll found dozens of students with LSAT scores below 150, and even found three students admitted during the Powers years with scores in the 130s.

    Snip.

    It’s impossible to say now exactly how many underqualified students were admitted, as UT redacted the tallies. We can say that in 2004, UT Law admitted at least one person with each of the following scores: 137, 140, 141, 144, 147, 148 and 149.

    In 2005, UT Law admitted at least one person with each of the following scores: 137, 140, 141, 143, 144, 147, 148 and 149.

    In 2006, the low scores recorded were 137, 141, 143, 146, 147, 148 and 149.

    So who ordered the Kroll to spike its findings?

    “Vice Chancellor Dan Sharphorn oversaw the report. He reports directly to Chancellor Bill McRaven.”

    Ongoing lawsuits by Watchdog.org and a Dallas Morning News columnist may succeed in getting past UT’s stonewalling (“In response to a public records request, UT last week produced a key 24,536-page document from the Kroll files, with every last page redacted.”) to cast some light on the subject.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

    Round Rock Bass Pro Shop Opened Today

    Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

    Today at 6 PM was the grand opening for the new Bass Pro Shop in Round Rock. People who have shopped there assure me that this is a Really Big Deal.

    At first glance the gun prices don’t look great to me, but maybe I can pick up some decent cargo shorts…

    LinkSwarm for May 5, 2015

    Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

    Happy Cinco de Mayo! My efforts to move the LinkSwarm back to it’s usual Friday position by posting early have failed, so I’m trying to get it there by letting it drift back one day later each time…

  • “Canadian Partnership Shielded Identities of Donors to Clinton Foundation.” Just in case you missed that. Because trying to keep up with all the sleazy bribery angles of the Clinton Foundation is like trying to drink from the firehose…
  • Speaking of which:

  • “Hillary may want to talk about inequality, but is there any better example of a couple who gorged at the trough of Wall Street and foreign autocrats, chose not to follow the rules, never could stop chasing more and more money and (in Hillary Clinton’s case) went to extraordinary lengths to destroy “personal” e-mails that might have pulled back the curtain on all that?” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Hillary hires Scott Hogan, an organizer of the failed “Everytown” gun-grabber astroturf to run her “Grassroots” campaign. Hopefully he’ll bring Hillary the same outstanding success he brought to gun control…
  • Russian stooges in Ukraine: “Soviet terror famine? No, that was all just a big misunderstanding!” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Islamic State murders 600 more Yezidis. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • The Islamic State also claimed post facto credit for the Garland attack.
  • Speaking of which, here’s an interview with Bosch Fawstin, the winner of the Draw Mohammed contest. (Hat tip: Legal Insurrection.)
  • Emergency room visits up under ObamaCare.
  • Lefty lawyer Laurence Tribe calls Obama’s “force everyone to use green energy without congressional approval” plan unconstitutional. “After studying the only legal basis offered for the EPA’s proposed rule, I concluded that the agency is asserting executive power far beyond its lawful authority.”
  • Drug cartel violence heats up in Mexico: “Gunmen shot down a Mexican military helicopter Friday in the western state of Jalisco, killing three soldiers, and set fire to buses, blocked roads, and attacked banks and gas stations in a sharp escalation of violence against the government.” This is evidently the handiwork of the New Generation drug cartel.
  • Minimum wage hike hits San Francisco Comic Store.
  • When the Social Justice Warriors started attacking the company Protein World over their “Beach Ready” ad campaign, Protein World didn’t cave, they fought back. Result: They earned an additional $1 million in four days.
  • Not understanding that the Presidency is not an entry level job, and that the Republican field was already packed, Ben Carson joins the Presidential race.
  • Ditto Carly Fiorina, whose tenure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard was not an unqualified success, and whose 2010 California Senate race lost to Barbara Boxer by 16 points.
  • And evidently Mike Huckabee is going to run as well.
  • Texas Democrats are furious that a new ethics bill might keep them from scratching each other’s backs. (Hat tip: Push Junction.)
  • The Austin American Statesman is moving printing and packing operations to San Antonio and Houston, resulting in about a 100 jobs lost in Austin. Previously. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Social Justice Warriors can’t even win elections at UCLA.
  • Austin’s Highland Mall closed on April 30th.