Welcome to the final week of traditional summer. Of course, it used to be that everything (school, football, the new TV year, etc.) started after Labor Day Weekend, but that’s not the case any more…
Archive for the ‘Austin’ Category
First off, Mandy Nagy, who you might remember from such hits as boy did I piss off convicted felon Brett Kimberlin, is being sued (again) by Kimberlin while she’s also in the process of recovering from a serious stroke.
Meanwhile, Austinite Brandi Stokes is dealing with hefty legal bills from a nasty child custody case in which she was targeted by the Travis County Democratic Party establishment. Too long a story to summarize here, so go over and take a look. But those with some legal pull should especially take a look.
Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:
“Thanks to our low-tax, low-regulation environment that allows all businesses to thrive, the State of Texas has become the national leader for technology job creation, and we continue to attract tech companies from around the country and around the world,” [Governor Greg] Abbott said. “On behalf of the State of Texas, I am pleased to welcome LiveOps to the Lone Star State as the company seeks to transform cloud-based customer service. With their help, the State of Texas can, and will, continue to lead the nation in job creation within the technology sector.”
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.
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.
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.)
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…
It’s been a while since I did a Texas vs. California update, so this is going to be a meaty one:
- 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.
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.)
Yeah, not so much this year… (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
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.
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…