46 years ago today, America walked on the moon. Or perhaps I should say “Nixon walked on the moon” in the same sense that “Obama got Bin Laden.”
This is just a post to offer my hearty congratulations to Ace of Spades HQ for penning the headline of the year.
And yeah, it’s about Gawker.
Last week, the New York Times seemed as determined to keep Ted Cruz’s new book A Time For Truth off their bestseller list as the BBC was to keep the Sex Pistol’s “God Save the Queen” out of the #1 spot on the singles chart during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.
They claimed Cruz’s book was only eligible for the list due to “bulk sales.” There was just one tiny little problem with that theory: It wasn’t true.
“HarperCollins Publishers has investigated the sales pattern for Ted Cruz’s book A Time For Truth and has found no evidence of bulk orders or sales through any retailer or organization,” the publisher said in a statement [last] Friday.”
“The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, Publisher’s Weekly, and Barnes & Noble all included A Time For Truth on their bestseller lists, with most placing it at #4 for nonfiction.”
Not only was Cruz in the right, he stood to benefit just by picking the fight. “For a conservative presidential candidate, the New York Times—an emblem of liberal elitism, right up there alongside arugula, the Toyota Prius and San Francisco—is a perfect foil.” (Also: “As it happens, A Time For Truth is a good read—especially by the dismal standards of the genre.”)
Yesterday, Ted Cruz was able to declare victory: “Five days after accusing The New York Times of bias, secrecy and foul play, Ted Cruz is finally getting what he wanted: a highly coveted spot on the paper’s bestseller list. Cruz’s memoir, A Time For Truth, will appear at No. 7 on the Times‘ list for hardcover nonfiction, reflecting its second-week sales, a Times spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday.”
Two more nuggets:
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.)
The self-inflicted destruction of Greece has been accomplished, but they’re still going to be picking up the pieces for years, if not decades. And there’s no guarantee the heavy manners Germany and the troika are imposing will actually be enough to rescue it.
So, enjoy a random collection of Greek headlines, since I don’t quite have time to pen a piece on The Greater Meaning Of It All:
Many observers are wondering how the left-populist renegades of Greece’s Syriza party, which rose to power in January on the promise of delivering relief from austerity and renewed its mandate with a massive victory in the July 5 referendum, managed to negotiate a bailout deal on Monday that is substantially worse than what was available to Greece before Syriza took office.
That would be because they were idiots who lied to voters about what they could accomplish.
Looks like Berkeley Breathed is bringing back Bloom County. Obviously a Trump presidential campaign was too much for him to stay retired…
Don’t get your hopes unreasonably high. It could be like Still the Beaver or Galactica 1980…
A lot of blogdom has been talking about The New York Times‘s laughable hit pieces on Marco Rubio, in which they reveal that Rubio paid $550,000 for a home in West Miami (“The house, among the more expensive in West Miami, stood out from the aging homes nearby: It includes an in-ground pool, a handsome brick driveway, meticulously manicured shrubs and oversize windows.”)
The Times also slammed Rubio for spending $80,000 on a “luxury speedboat” that actually turned out to be a run-of-the-mill fishing boat.
— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) June 9, 2015
Hot Air notes that his house is 2,700 square feet, which is precisely 12 square feet larger than my own Williamson County home in suburban Austin. I don’t have a pool, and I paid a whole lot less ($171,000) than Rubio, but that’s the difference between buying just off the floor of the Dotcom bust in Austin (2004), and buying near the peak of Miami’s real estate boom in 2005. It also takes a lot of damn gall for The New York Times to cluck over $550,000 for a 2,700 square feet home, when that amount would barely buy you a 800 square foot shoebox in Manhattan (if you’re lucky).
Of course, it’s instructive to compare Rubio’s home with Hillary Clinton’s:
Left: Marco Rubio's house. Right: Hillary Clinton's house. Clearly, Hillary can identify with the common man. pic.twitter.com/3gLEXcpdmW
— Bill Sanderson (@mrgeology) June 9, 2015
Even more stunning: Bill and Hillary Clinton spent $200,000 a month for a summer vacation rental house in the Hamptons. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the idea of spending $200,000 a month on your summer rental. And not in an exotic locale like Bali or Fiji, but the Hamptons. Why? So you can rub your nouveau riche in the faces of the all the old money? That’s pretty much “lighting your cigar with $100 bills” rich.
But I guess you’re not so picky about money when your entire lifestyle is underwritten by foreign dictators writing checks to your foundation.