Posts Tagged ‘Media Watch’

LinkSwarm for April 6, 2015

Monday, April 6th, 2015

I might have an analysis of the the Iranian nuclear deal later, or I might now, depending on how my taxes are going…

  • UN Human Rights chief praises Islamic State for “diversity.” No, really, that happened. It’s not a parody from The Onion. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Professor finds that texts of Islam are, in fact, more violent than those of other religions.
  • The Columbia Journalism Review investigation of the Rolling Stone University of Virginia rape hoax story is out, and found massive problems with the reporting…
  • …many of which Ashe Schow highlights.
  • But despite the numerous journalistic problems with the piece, no one is getting fired. Lying to support the victimhood identity politics narrative means never having to lose your job…
  • Speaking of which: Fraternity brothers perpetrate vicious rape. Wait, did I say “perpetrate”? I meant “prevent.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Earlier: “Sorry I lead you on when I got drunk.” Later: “What I really meant was you raped me!”
  • The Obama Administration’s reckless engagement with Iran is probably the biggest reason Netanyahu won his surprise victory.
  • The Atlanta Federal Reserve forecast has cut Gross Domestic Product growth estimates in the first quarter from 2.3% to 0.0%. Unexpectedly!
  • Ted Cruz raises $4 million in 8 days. As the New York Times notes, the vast majority is from small donors and can be spent in the primary.
  • Being a liberal means never having to actually weigh evidence.
  • Muslim group kills Red Cross worker.
  • What town wanted: Statue of Lucille Ball. What town got: Statue of zombie lobotomized alcoholic Amelia Earhart.
  • Mickey Kaus Resigns From Daily Caller, Sets Up Own Site

    Saturday, March 28th, 2015

    If you hadn’t heard, Mickey Kaus resigned from the Daily Caller over them spiking a piece that slammed Fox News for supporting illegal alien amnesty.

    Kaus is now blogging at his own site http://kausfiles.com/.

    Update your bookmarks accordingly.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

    LinkSwarm for March 20, 2015

    Friday, March 20th, 2015

    Another Friday, another LinkSwarm. There’s almost enough news here to break out a separate “UK child rape cover-up update,” but I found the idea too depressing…

  • UK Police told not to investigate child rape in Sheffield, which was “bigger than Rotherham.” (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Indeed, child gang rape in the UK evidently evidently occurred on an “Industrial scale.”
  • More from the UK pattern of ignoring or downplaying underage rape, and punishing whistleblowers of same.
  • Collectors! Priceless antiquities can be yours at low, low prices thanks to Bernie’s Islamic State Discount eBay Shop! (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • “The Left that seems to believe Israel’s primary duty to the world is empowering Arabs that seek it harm.”

    What set off this new round of ominous Israel concern-trolling was Netanyahu’s assertion that leftist NGOs, billionaires and consultants were making sure that “Arab voters are going to the polls in droves.”

    Which was a fact.

    The leadership of the Arab front has openly stated that it wanted to pull together any and all factions of Israeli Arabs, including communists and Islamists, for the single political purpose of removing Israel’s prime minister. Arab political forces are free to rally to unseat Netanyahu, free to aspire to dismantle the Jewish State, but if Netanyahu mentions any of this he’s a racist undermining Israel’s formerly pristine democracy. Or so we’re told.

  • Charles Krauthammer on the same theme:

  • The Obama Administration is so desperate for a nuclear deal with Iran that they’ve dropped Iran and Hezbollah from the terrorist organization list.
  • Even Democrats are balking at Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran
  • …which is apparently every bit as bad as Netanyahu said.
  • Former CIA Director General David Petraeus agrees with Netanyahu that Iran is a bigger threat to us than the Islamic State. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Michael Totten things it’s time to partition Iraq.
  • France eliminates welfare benefits for 290 jihadists.
  • “If you want to know what Hillary Clinton would be like as president, you’re seeing it right now. There is no other Hillary. This is her.” Also: “What this utterly typical PR fiasco shows is that what they’ll actually get is familiar, tired, pathetic, dishonest, and embarrassing.”
  • “Hillary, I’m not disappointed that you’re lying. I’m disappointed that you’re phoning in your lies.”
  • Scott Walker couldn’t just be the next Reagan, he could be the next Calvin Coolidge.
  • When a college student said she’d been “raped” what she actually meant was she asked her “assailant” to tie her up and spank her.
  • TED Talk, or North Korea propaganda?
  • America’s Cup boat seized?
  • Some people just can’t learn from the mistakes of others. Even when the other is Anthony Weiner. And you’re a Democratic lawmaker. And you’re hitting on the same woman Weiner hit on.
  • The new, not-improved New Republic to create stories to order for advertisers? Honestly, selling the magazine to Rush Limbaugh wouldn’t have been quite so dishonorable to the magazine’s memory… (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • Bill filed in the Texas legislature to strip private toll road companies of the power to use eminent domain.
  • And that whole “Starbucks making their baristas talk about race” thing? I’m just going to leave this here:

  • CNN Turns Out a Too Many Cooks 2016 Election Parody

    Thursday, March 19th, 2015

    Shockingly, A.) It’s pretty evenhanded, and B.) It doesn’t suck.

    On the other hand, Too Many Cooks was four months ago. It shouldn’t take more than a week to crank this out. Even if they did take a day to get the perfect font match…

    Jeremy Clarkson and the Culture Wars

    Monday, March 16th, 2015

    If you hadn’t heard about it on this side of the pond, BBC Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended over a “fracas” (supposedly involving a thrown punch) with one of the show’s producers. Given that the actual details still haven’t been shared, it’s hard to say how serious the incident was.

    TV star behaving badly, details at ten. You wouldn’t think it would have been more than a brief news blip, but instead it’s turned into a seven day furor as UK’s progressives howled for Clarkson to be fired over the incident and “cultural insensitivity” (including muttering a nursery rhyme racial slur that got caught on a microphone).

    It seems that Clarkson, an unapologetic enthusiast for car culture and other masculine pursuits, has become the latest flashpoint in the culture wars.

    Here’s a panel discussion on the Clarkson issue. Skip to about 8:50 in if you want to see Milo Yiannopoulos (Twitter’s @Nero and gay conservative journalist and all-around bon vivant) address the issue of structural prejudice against men in the modern western world.

    Notice the immediate, sharp pushback Yiannopoulos gets at daring to question any part of the feminist line.

    That’s the context on the Clarkson dust-up. My impression that it’s not so much what Clarkson said, but his refusal to bow to the usual victimhood identity politics shibboleths that has the social justice warrior types howling for his blood. That’s why they want his scalp so badly.

    At this remove, it seems like the UK progressive establishment is far more incensed at Jeremy Clarkson than Rotherham and similar child rape scandals.

    Maureen Dowd Smacks Hillary

    Sunday, March 15th, 2015

    Maureen Dowd, a deeply uneven writer, is never more interesting than when she’s taking down hubris-swollen Democrats, especially if their last names happen to be Clinton.

    This is manifestly true of her most recent column, an open letter to Hillary.

    It has come to our attention while observing your machinations during your attempted restoration that you may not fully understand our constitutional system. Thus, we are writing to bring to your attention two features of our democracy: The importance of preserving historical records and the ill-advised gluttony of an American feminist icon wallowing in regressive Middle Eastern states’ payola.

    Snip.

    Instead of raising us up by behaving like exemplary, sterling people, you bring us down to your own level, a place of blurred lines and fungible ethics and sleazy associates. Your family’s foundation gobbles tens of millions from Saudi Arabia and other repressive regimes, whose unspoken message is: “We’re going to give you money to go improve the world. Now leave us alone to go persecute women.”

    Dowd is, as usual, strongest on the foibles and hubris of the Overclass, and weakest on people living outside that bubble and anything to do with policy. But if there’s one thing Dowd knows (and owes her reputation and Pulitzer to), it’s the Clintons.

    Read the whole thing.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

    LinkSwarm for March 6, 2105

    Friday, March 6th, 2015

    Welcome to Friday! With so much being written about Hillary Clinton’s secret email server (well, secret to mere peasants like you and me, if not foreign governments…) and the King v. Burwell ObamaCare hearings, I didn’t include anything on them in this LinkSwarm. Maybe later…

  • Egyptian-born imam called for Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s death for defaming Islam. Does the Department of Justice: A.) Seek to deport him, B.) Investigate his ties to terrorism, or C.) Hire him to teach Islam in prison? (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • The Syrian rebel group Harakat al-Hazm, the last “moderate” group backed by the White House, disbands and joins the jihadists. Another towering Obama/Clinton/Kerry foreign policy triumph!
  • So the forces trying to retake Tikrit from the Islamic State are Iranian-led Shia militias?
  • Hillary Clinton’s foreign payola wasn’t just illegal, it was unconstitutional:

    The Washington Post reported last week that the tax-exempt foundation run by Bill and Hillary Clinton accepted money from seven foreign governments while Hillary served as U.S. Secretary of State (it’s unclear how much foreign money the organization accepted while Hillary was a U.S. Senator). Super shady, right? It’s worse than that, though, because Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution actually bans foreign payola for U.S. officials.

    The constitutional ban on foreign cash payments to U.S. officials is known as the Emoluments Clause and originated from Article VI of the Articles of Confederation. The purpose of the clause was to prevent foreign governments from buying influence in the U.S. by paying off U.S. government officials. Here’s the text of the clause:

    No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

  • Ted Cruz participated in a discussion with Elie Wiesel on the dangers of letting Iran obtain nuclear weapons. But what would Elie Wiesel know about attempts to exterminate Jews?
  • Obama’s greatest accomplishment is kicking people out of the workforce. Well, at least domestically…
  • The New York Observer has a hotline to the Kremlin
  • Egypt declares Hamas a terrorist organization.
  • Maryland Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski to retire. (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • Chicago’s credit rating slashed. That’s what happens when you spend like drunken sailors. Or, worse yet, Californians.
  • Via Borepatch, an entire blog dedicated to improvised arms.
  • The Top 10 GOP Donors in Texas.
  • Science shows that fracking is not responsible for earthquakes in the DFW area.
  • Guy decides to leave civilization behind and start his own Utopia. It turns out exactly as any rational observers would expect.
  • Tweet:

  • The Llamas With Hats saga is now complete.

  • Greece Suspends Soccer

    Thursday, February 26th, 2015

    Greece has suspended their top soccer league due to violence:

    The new Greek government suspended competition in the top-flight Super League indefinitely after violence at a weekend match between the top two football clubs in the country.

    Sunday’s game between bitter Athens city rivals Panathinaikos and away team Olympiakos was marred by a pitch invasion despite a heavy police presence.

    The players and officials of Super League leader Olympiakos were also pelted with various projectiles and flares amid ugly scenes.

    Good thing Europeans aren’t completely soccer crazy, or that Greeks aren’t already pissed off at the continuing economic crisis or successive governments telling them precisely the lies they want to hear.

    (An aside: This is an actual sentence on CNN.com: “Following these incidents, the ruling Syriza Party has made its decision to impose a suspension, which will be the third team [sic] this season that Greek football has been halted.” That’s some mighty fine proofreading, CNN…)

    I think this is footage from the scene:

    Evidently Greek government is as incompetent at maintaining a “heavy police presence” as it is at everything else except deficit spending.

    Soccer hooliganism is hardly a novel phenomena in Europe, but I suspect this incident gives us a glimpse of the widespread simmering anger in Greece over the perpetual debt crisis. Having been brought to power by that anger, it looks like Syriza is badly underestimating its depth and how to manage it. If they were smart, they’d be far wiser to let some of it boil off in soccer brawls rather than let it keep building without an outlet.

    In a country that can no longer afford bread, it’s deeply unwise to start banning circuses…

    “You are blocked from following @AlecBaldwin”

    Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

    Keith Olbermann was given a Twitter-induced suspension by his employer ESPN over insulting Penn State students for a pediatric cancer fundraiser (of all things) this week. While noting my own little dust-up with Olbermann, I observed that it was high time that Olbermann, like Alec Baldwin, learned that Twitter was not his friend.

    At which point I discovered that I was blocked by Alec Baldwin:

    BaldwinBlock

    I’m honestly not sure why, since I only tweak him over his anger management issues about once or twice a year. (As opposed to earning my Amanda Marcotte block by consistently pointing out her extensive hypocrisy and willful ignoring of evidence in the UVA and Duke lacrosse (non-)rape cases.) Maybe he’s doing the GamerGate block thing, or using some other block list.

    Evidently I’m not alone:

    Time to break out this again:

    Kroll Report Vindicates Wallace Hall (Yet Again)

    Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

    Every time new revelations come to light about the UT Admissions Scandal, they’ve always proven that UT regent Wallace Hall was right to launch his investigation, and that his critics were wrong to attempt to bury it (and him). The latest revelations are no exception:

    University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers used his authority to get “must have” applicants admitted to the state’s flagship school and misled internal lawyers looking into influence peddling in the admissions process in both the undergraduate college and UT’s top-ranked law school, an independent investigation obtained by The Dallas Morning News has found.

    The wide-ranging investigation ordered by former Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa found that Powers overruled his admissions office and exercised broad control when it came to favored applicants – some of whom had the recommendation of powerful people in this state.

    That report is the Kroll Report. What they found was what Wallace Hall alleged: That there was one admissions process for ordinary applicants, and another for the well-connected. “Applicants with special connections had a 72% acceptance rate compared to 40% overall.”

    Let’s look at some details of the process from the Kroll report summary:

    Review of Undergraduate Admissions Process

  • When an inquiry or recommendation concerning a candidate for admission is forwarded to the President’s Office from a “friend of the university” or other “person of influence” – which may include a public official, a member of the Board of Regents or UT-System official, an important alumnus or alumna, a major donor, a faculty member or other UT-Austin official – a long-standing practice has been to place a “hold” on that candidate’s application. The purpose of a hold is to indicate that a negative decision may not become final until the party which placed the hold is notified.
  • Since 2009, certain hold designations have been entered on UT-Austin’s mainframe computer with the designation of “Q,” “L,” or “B.” A designation of “Q hold” indicates the application is being monitored by the President’s Office. An “L hold” indicates that the application is of interest to one of the college Deans. When both the President’s Office and a college Dean request a hold, the file is designated as a “B hold” applicant. (Several other types of holds exist for a variety of reasons; however, as explained later in this report, the only holds within the scope of Kroll’s investigation, and thus of interest for purposes of this report, are Q, L, and B holds.)
  • Due in part to the increased competitiveness of undergraduate admissions at UT-Austin, and in part because recordkeeping is now computerized, Q-hold volumes have escalated considerably 13 over the past several years. Under President Powers, Q holds have totaled as many as 300 applicants of interest per year. The majority of holds appear to be based on requests from Texas legislators and members of the Board of Regents, while others are instigated by requests from the Chancellor’s Office, donors and alumni.
  • The existence of holds combined with end-of-cycle meetings between the Admissions Office and the President’s Office, during which final decisions are made on all hold candidates not already admitted, has caused increasing levels of tension between the Admissions Office and the President’s Office. In recent years, President Powers, acting through his Chief of Staff, has at times made holistic determinations that differed from that of the Admissions Office. Consequently, it appears that a select handful of applicants each year are admitted over the objection of the Admissions Office. The President’s Office has acknowledged to Kroll that this has occurred, but insists that decisions are always made with the “best interests of the university” in mind.
  • Based on our investigation, there is no evidence that any applicants have been admitted as a result of a quid pro quo or other inappropriate promise or exchange. There also is no evidence that efforts were made to “save spots” for certain applicants or that a dual system of admissions has been informally established. However, it is acknowledged that additional acceptances are sent out each year to accommodate special cases. With certain “must have” applicants, the President’s Office ordered applicants admitted over the objection of the Admissions Office.
  • Because written records or notes of meetings and discussions between the President’s Office and Admissions are not maintained and are typically shredded, it is not known in particular cases why some applicants with sub-par academic credentials were placed on a hold list and eventually admitted. Rarely was it discussed why particular applicants needed to be admitted, or what, if any, connections the applicants had with persons of influence. But President Powers acknowledged to Kroll that “relational factors” do occasionally play an important role in determinations to admit some applicants who might not have otherwise been admitted.
  • Over a six-year period, applicants on whom a hold of any type was placed were admitted 72% of the time, compared to an overall admission rate of approximately 40%. Texas residents accounted for 82% of all applicants placed on a hold list. Email correspondence reviewed by Kroll further confirmed that a relationship with university officials has on occasion provided applicants a competitive boost in the admissions process.
  • The total number of arguably less-qualified applicants who have benefitted from the hold system and the President’s oversight of the hold candidates appears to be relatively small. Indeed, from 2009 to 2014, Kroll identified a total of only 73 enrolled applicants who were admitted with both a combined SAT score of less than 1100 and a high school GPA of less than 2.9. Kroll’s review of the available “outlier” files found that political connections may have influenced the admission decision in a small number of cases, while other cases suggested the possibility of alumni/legacy influence despite the prohibition under Texas law against legacy admissions. Several other cases, however, suggested a demonstrated commitment to ethnic and racial diversity and the consideration of other appropriate criteria.
  • While it is often not clear why a particular applicant was placed on hold or received special consideration, the President’s Office acknowledged to Kroll that legislative letters and calls are typically accorded more weight than other letters and calls because legislative oversight impacts the university.
  • In short, while it is impossible to conclude with absolute certainty from a review of the data and selected files alone that any one particular applicant benefitted from undue influence or pressure exerted on the admissions process, it is readily apparent that certain applicants are admitted at the instigation of the President over the assessment of the Admissions Office. The end-of-cycle meeting between the President’s Office and Admissions Office results each year in certain applicants receiving a competitive boost or special consideration in the admissions process. The data reviewed by Kroll confirms what President Powers and others have acknowledged, that relationships matter and are the deciding factor in admissions decisions for a select handful of applicants each year.
  • Although the practice of holds and exercise of presidential discretion over Admissions may not violate any existing law, rule, or policy, it is an aspect of the admissions process that does not appear in UT-Austin’s public representations.
  • Several other important constituents are at least partially complicit for this ad-hoc system of special admissions. For example, the Board of Regents sends approximately 50 to 70 names of applicants to the President’s Office each year. Similarly, many names are placed on a hold list as a result of requests from the Chancellor’s Office, the UT-System Office of Government Relations, major donors and alumni. In most years, there are certain legislators and Regents whose names are noted more than others. It would appear that these other bodies send inquiries concerning student applicants to the President’s Office with the expectation that such applicants be closely monitored by that office.
  • Kroll notes that the existence of holds and watch lists, and the end-of-cycle meetings between the President’s Office and the Admissions Office, were not disclosed or specifically addressed by President Powers and his Chief of Staff during an internal Admissions Inquiry previously conducted by the UT-System. Although President Powers and his Chief of Staff appear to have answered the specific questions asked of them with technical precision, it appears that by their material omissions they misled the inquiry. At minimum, each failed to speak with the candor and forthrightness expected of people in their respective positions of trust and leadership.
  • Review of Law School Admissions Process

  • By design and practice, UT Law School also utilizes a holistic admissions process. Although the law school requires no minimum LSAT score and only a 2.2 undergraduate GPA from an accredited institution, it is apparent that GPA and LSAT scores play a prominent role in admissions decisions. This fact, which is true of virtually all nationally ranked law schools, is driven in large part by the importance of GPA and LSAT in the perceived competitiveness of the law school and how it affects national rankings.
  • Unlike many law schools, UT Law School does not rely on an Admissions Committee to review application files or to render individual admissions decisions. Instead, almost all individual admissions decisions are made by either the Assistant Dean for Admission and Financial Aid or by the Director of Admission Programs. Consequently, although Kroll found that the professionals in these positions perform their jobs with expertise and integrity, the system as designed insufficiently prevents final admissions decisions from potentially being influenced by external factors, including informal discussions with the Dean after receiving letters, phone calls or contacts from persons of influence. For example, members of the Texas legislature and other persons of influence frequently call or write in support of particular law school candidates outside of normal application procedures, and the Dean’s Office receives numerous calls from legislators urging the admission of certain applicants.
  • Kroll found no evidence that the Dean or others at the law school acted improperly or in any way compromised the integrity of the admissions process. Nevertheless, the system as designed presents these well-intentioned professionals with potentially difficult balancing acts and ethical quandaries.  When the Dean’s Office receives information about a law school applicant from a trusted source, the recent practice has been for the Dean to informally review the applicant’s credentials and determine whether a case for admission is plausible. If so, the Dean discusses the matter with the Assistant Dean for Admission and Financial Aid. As long as a final decision has not been made and communicated to the applicant, the Dean feels free to discuss any information received about an applicant with the Assistant Dean. In some instances, the resulting discussions have changed the mind of the Assistant Dean regarding a candidate for admission.
  • The President of UT-Austin also receives calls and letters from persons of influence concerning law school applicants. When this occurs, the President’s Office advises the law school (usually the Dean) of these interests. From 2006 to 2012, former Dean Larry Sager received 10 to 20 calls a year from Nancy Brazzil about President Powers’ interest in certain law school applicants. Brazzil made clear she spoke for the President’s Office. Sager acknowledged that the intensity of Brazzil’s interest in a candidate may “have on occasion swayed my decision.”
  • There’s a good bit more, but those are some of the highlights.

    Indeed, Cigarroa admitted that “Fairness has at times been compromised in the admission of students into the University of Texas at Austin.”

    Over at Watchdog.org, Jon Cassidy puts the total admissions number of unqualified applicants as in the thousands.

    He’s not the only one who thinks it’s a big deal. Over at The Dallas Observer, Jim Schutze says “To every single applicant who ever got turned down by UT, I say this: Your wildest most paranoid imagining of why you got screwed and how they really do admissions at UT was nowhere near wild or paranoid enough. We’re talking about admissions meetings where university officials shred all their notes before leaving the room.” He also notes, yet again, what a horrific whitewash job UT’s own internal investigation was.

    Also this: “Kroll looked at a sample of 73 smelly admissions files tied to legislators. In that sample, four affluent high schools in Texas accounted for 45 percent of the sample. Among the four, Highland Park High School was way out ahead at No. 1 with a third of all the dicey admissions in the whole sample.”

    Well, who could possibly object to rich, well-connected kids getting to cut into the admissions line ahead of mere commoners?

    While UT defenders are quick to assert that “no criminal activity occurred,” Cassidy believes that the blatant favoritism for legacy admissions may have violated the state education code, which states “the university must continue its practice of not considering an applicant’s legacy status as a factor in the university’s decisions relating to admissions for that academic year.”

    The Dallas Morning News piece notes:

    Many of Powers’ current problems can be traced to the work of UT Regent Wallace Hall, a man who has been pilloried for personally examining the admissions process.

    The Kroll report appears to vindicate Hall’s work and add weight to his concerns that political and financial influence dictated some admissions decisions.

    Hall’s inquiries into the admissions process led to him being targeted by state legislators, including House Speaker Joe Straus and former Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

    Dewhurst was forcibly retired by Dan Patrick. Straus, have course, has been one of Hall’s staunchest foes, and shows every sign of desiring to continue UT’s culture of admissions favors for the well-connected indefinitely…