The details of the revelations that wealthy parents allegedly paid a consultant hundreds of thousands of dollars to portray their children as successful athletes, thus giving them a leg up in elite college admissions, are enticingly, delightfully juicy. (Jane Coaston’s explainer has some of the best anecdotes, including students being portrayed as top recruits in sports they’d never even played.)
But underneath the celebrity gossip and the choice anecdotes is the inescapable conclusion that the whole business of being admitted to elite colleges in America in 2019 — and make no mistake, it is a business — is corrupt all the way down.
When the Justice Department held a press conference Tuesday to announce fraud charges against dozens of people, including consultant William “Rick” Singer and actress Felicity Huffman, FBI special agent Joseph R. Bonavolonta described the scheme as “a sham that strikes at the core of the college admissions process.”
But what it revealed is just how rotten that core is. If the only goal of the college admissions process in America were to create a perfect educational environment for students — not to appease wealthy donors or boost the school’s brand through athletics — the fraud wouldn’t have worked at all.
The real scandal, as they say, is what’s legal.
The scheme only worked because college admissions in America is broken
The underlying logic of the scheme was this: Wealthy parents wanted to get their kids into elite colleges, but their kids had so-so grades and test scores that wouldn’t qualify them for admission through the usual process. Happily for them, college admissions isn’t a level playing field.
The children of alumni get a leg up. So do the children of major donors; a recent lawsuit over Harvard’s admissions policies revealed the details of how they are treated as much as revenue generators as they are for their potential as students. And athletes are routinely admitted with lower grades and test scores than other students.
None of these advantages in the admissions process typically attract as much attention and outrage as the most notorious admissions preference: race-based affirmative action. That outrage rarely considers that, legally, affirmative action cannot exist merely to help individual students overcome discrimination. Colleges, according to the Supreme Court, can consider race in admissions only to educationally benefit all students on campus by creating a racially diverse environment, and only if considering race is the only way to create that environment.
There is no similar requirement to justify the admission of legacy students, donors’ children, or athletes. It does not matter if Jared Kushner — who got into college on the back of a $2.5 million gift — added anything to his classmates’ time at Harvard. It is enough that it was in Harvard’s interest to admit him.
Singer allegedly exploited the admissions preference for athletes by turning mediocre high school students, through bribery and photo editing, into mediocre students with athletic promise. It worked.
There is no academic reason for that preference to exist. Athletes with lower grades and test scores can slip into a freshman class because an excellent athletic program is very much in the college’s interests. (Most students who benefit from these preferences are already white and well-off: They’re from families who could afford to support years of tennis, golf, or lacrosse.) Good sports teams win championships, and championships win the university money, recognition, and the goodwill and donations of alumni. In some sports, and at some of the colleges targeted in the scheme uncovered by the Justice Department, the spoils extend to TV contracts worth billions of dollars.
The influence of athletics in the university extends far beyond football and basketball: Colleges that try to eliminate a “non-revenue sport,” like wrestling, fencing, or gymnastics, risk offending deep-pocketed alumni with fond memories of their college years on the wrestling mat; colleges whose swimmers or soccer players succeed can end up covered in borrowed Olympic glory. (Those colleges will soon be advertising themselves with a new slogan: “Olympians Made Here.”) All that revenue only rarely trickles down to the students, the ones whose bodies are actually on the line.
Singer’s scheme, as described by prosecutors, likely harmed a handful of truly talented athletes who lost their places in a college’s freshman class to a student whose athletic record was allegedly faked with bribes and photoshop. They should rightfully feel injured.
For the rest of us, it’s worth remembering that Singer’s plan only worked because colleges are willing to give athletes an advantage in the first place. In a world where colleges put the academic interests of all students first and foremost, desperate parents would likely still be willing to pay unscrupulous consultants. But their money would be wasted.
The crisis of confidence in higher education
One response to the fraud case has been incredulity not at its existence but at its intricate and seemingly superfluous criminality. If you’ve got hundreds of thousands of dollars to spare and a kid with a subpar academic record, the thinking goes, why not just make a big donation to their college of choice and win your child’s admission (and get a tax deduction to boot)? Why mess around with this whole cloak-and-dagger business of paying test takers, bribing coaches, and photoshopping pictures?
The answer, according to the complaint, is that merely getting a “second look” from the admissions committee, the kind a big donation could buy you, wasn’t enough; parents wanted the ironclad guarantee that only a college coach’s sterling recommendation could give them. (Pause and think about that.)
But the mere fact of bribery was not, on its own, shocking (including to me). Colleges are increasingly seen for what they are: another system that the wealthy can game.
At 38 colleges, including Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, and the University of Pennsylvania, there are more students from the top 1 percent of families by income than the bottom 60 percent (families making $65,000 or less per year), according to a 2017 New York Times analysis.
Many of these students, one presumes, won admission not through big donations and bribes but from the years of advantages that accrue from wealth: good schools, test prep, tutoring, private sports and music lessons, and so on, and none of the toxic stress that comes with poverty.
Others got there by less scrupulous means. The details of the legal schemes the wealthy undertake to get their children into top schools can be just as intriguing, and damning, as the Justice Department’s court filings: A lawsuit on Harvard’s admission practices recently revealed that the college maintains a secret list of applicants who are the relatives of major donors.
One student whose family donated $1.1 million got a special campus tour from the former head tennis coach — “we rolled out the red carpet,” he said, according to the Harvard Crimson. It’s not clear if the student was eventually admitted, but students on the donor list have a 42 percent acceptance rate. Harvard overall accepted 4.6 percent of students in 2018.
And $1.1 million is less than one family paid Singer to win admission to the University of Southern California, whose endowment is about one-eighth the size of Harvard’s. The details of the scandal the Justice Department uncovered are notable not because rich people try to buy their way into higher education, but because these particular rich people went about it all wrong.
Koalas Are on the Verge of Extinction, but You Can Adopt One and Help Save Them
Koalas, those adorable marsupials that have become a symbol of Australian biodiversity were recently declared “functionally extinct.” This means that there are so few of them that, according to an NGO dedicated to their conservation, koalas now have no influence on their ecosystem. However, there is still hope for these creatures and you can be a part of it.
Bright Side would like to welcome you to learn more about these adorable animals to understand why we should protect them from extinction.
1. Koalas aren’t bears.
Although they look like adorable teddy bears, in reality, koalas belong to the marsupial family, the same as kangaroos and opossums. Like other marsupials, when they’re born, koalas are as small as a bean and move to their mother’s pouch, where they complete their development.
Curious fact: In Australia, marsupial babies are known as “joeys.”
Although their fur looks spongy and soft, it is actually thick enough to protect them from cold and heat. The decrease in their population that took place until the last century was caused, to a great extent, by massive hunting to obtain their skin.
2. They can get very noisy.
The sounds they emit may not be as adorable as their appearance. According to experts, koalas have at least 4 types of calls to communicate, ranging from squawking and growling to weeping. In the video, we can hear a howl that they usually make when feeling threatened.
Males also have an extra pair of vocal cords outside the larynx that enables them to produce a deep and low pitched sound to attract female koalas during mating season. The sound travels through the woods and can be detected from as far as a kilometer away. Upon hearing it, females know where the males are and what size they are, since they prefer the bigger males.
3. They drink almost no water.
Their name means “not water” in the aboriginal language, because they obtain all the hydration they need from their main food: Eucalyptus leaves. Koalas only drink water when they’re sick or in case of a drought when the eucalyptus leaves are not watery enough. They may not drink much water, but they like it. They’re also good swimmers even though they can only swim short distances before feeling tired.
4. They are absolute sleepyheads.
Koalas sleep between 14 and 20 hours a day! Their digestion is extremely slow, so they tend to be inactive for long periods of time. Because of this and also because of their nocturnal habits, it’s often difficult to catch a glimpse of them. Also, during the few hours that they stay awake, koalas only socialize for an average of 15 minutes.
5. They have a special relationship with the eucalyptus tree.
Koalas consume more than 2 pounds of eucalyptus leaves per day, but it’s not just their food; eucalyptus forests are also their natural habitat. What’s interesting is that koalas also help these forests grow because their feces contribute nutrients to the soil.
Eucalyptus leaves also have substances that could be deadly for almost all animals, but koalas have evolved to be able to process these toxins. They’re even able to distinguish which leaves have more nutrients and are less toxic, as well as identify their moisture level.
Eucalyptus leaves are so poisonous that koala mothers make their babies used to these substances by using an interesting technique: When koalas are 2 months old, in addition to milk, moms feed the babies with a sort of liquid pap that comes directly from their digestive system and reaches the pouch. This “pap” is a softened version of the eucalyptus leaves and contains all the bacteria that the baby needs to digest the leaves as an adult.
But what may look like an evolutionary advantage is now their greatest vulnerability. Koalas depend solely on eucalyptus to feed themselves. The destruction of the woods due to the expansion of cities, the growing number of forest fires caused by climate change, and the greenhouse gases that decrease the amount of nutrients in the leaves are the central causes of koalas going extinct.
6. They’re vulnerable to chlamydia.
This sexually transmitted disease that afflicts humans can also affect koalas in the wild. Even joeys are at risk of getting infected after feeding on their mothers. Antibiotic treatments have been tested, but they caused the death of the bacteria that allows koalas to consume eucalyptus leaves. It put their lives at risk. Sadly, chlamydia can also cause blindness, infertility, and death, which contributes to the decline in their population.
7. They’re victims of car accidents and dog attacks.
To the list of koalas’ natural predators, which is pretty long, we need to add the highways that cross their forests and their proximity to people’s pets. There have been many car accidents that continue to decimate the population, although some measures have been taken to reduce the speed limit, primarily at night, when they’re active.
There have also been many encounters with dogs. Nevertheless, they can sometimes become genuine allies and work to protect them. This happened in a story showed in the news where a small orphaned joey took refuge on the back of a golden retriever to save himself from low temperatures, and the pup had no problem taking care of him all night.
What can we do for koalas?
The Australian Koala Foundation is the leading organization working toward the conservation of koalas. They have urged the country’s incoming government to protect these charismatic animals. The foundation has also prompted the administration to support them in their efforts, which include different strategies regarding education about koalas, the pressure to create laws to protect them, the tracking of the species within the territory, and many other actions.
Although it’s an animal that’s unique to Australia, the country has several nonprofit institutions that create worldwide campaigns to help them. If you want to offer some support, you can donate money directly, buy products, and even plant a eucalyptus tree at a distance. But the most fun part and the part that will melt your heart is that you can adopt a koala.
Yes, it would be a symbolic adoption, since you don’t get to take it home with you. But if you do this good deed, you will obtain a certificate with a picture of your koala, its name, and a short history about its life. Plus, if you travel to Australia, you can meet the koala you adopted if it’s available for visits, of course.
Koalas are one of the most distinctive animals of the Australian biodiversity, and substantial efforts are being made to prevent it from becoming just a memory of a species we couldn’t save from extinction.
Do you think koalas are adorable? How would you like to help with their conservation? Share your ideas in the comments!
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony is set for July 17
After weeks of speculation about whether special counsel Robert Mueller would testify before Congress, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff have announced Mueller will appear in front of their committees in July.
On Tuesday night, Nadler announced Mueller had agreed to testify, after his committee and the House Permanent Select Committee issued subpoenas. Mueller will testify in open session on July 17, according to the chairs.
“We look forward to hearing his testimony, as do all Americans,” Schiff and Nadler’s statement reads. “Americans have demanded to hear directly from the Special Counsel so they can understand what he and his team examined, uncovered, and determined about Russia’s attack on our democracy, the Trump campaigns acceptance and use of that help, and President Trump and his associates’ obstruction of the investigation into that attack.”
But don’t expect too many bombshells from the special counsel’s testimony. Mueller has been very clear about what he will and will not talk about publicly in front of Congress: He will talk about what is already in his report on Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and President Donald Trump’s alleged obstruction. He won’t talk about what he thinks about how Attorney General William Barr handled the report’s rollout, or anything else not in the report’s 448 pages.
“The report is my testimony,” Mueller said in a rare public statement last month. “I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.”
House Democrats want Mueller to give more information. They are deeply suspicious of the way Barr and the Trump administration handled the Mueller report rollout this spring and want to hear Mueller’s side of the story. But Mueller, seemingly afraid of politicizing the report and his role in it, has clearly said he has no desire to speak on it.
Democrats had hoped Mueller would willingly agree to testify in front of Congress, but House Judiciary Committee chair Jerry Nadler also floated the option of subpoenaing the special counsel last month if Trump tried to claim executive privilege to block it. “We will subpoena him if we have to,” Nadler reiterated in a CNN interview earlier this month.
Given the fact Mueller said his decision not to testify was his and his alone, committee chairs were hesitant to take the step of subpoenaing him, but eventually chose to. Mueller was easier to persuade than Trump administration officials, many of whom have chosen to ignore Democratic subpoenas.
Even if Mueller can’t speak to anything beyond the report, Democrats believe his testimony will be valuable as they slowly and methodically mount their campaign of investigations against Trump. Whether it will ultimately lead to impeachment is another question entirely — one House Democrats don’t appear any closer to tackling.
Mueller believes Congress should hold Trump accountable
Twice — once in his report and once in his public statement — Mueller has said he believes Congress is the body that should decide whether Trump obstructed justice by attempting to stop the investigations into his 2016 campaign.
Even with plenty of evidence, Mueller explained why his team did not charge Trump for obstructing justice, saying long-standing Department of Justice policy prevented him from indicting a sitting president. And as Vox’s Andrew Prokop wrote, Mueller went a step further, concluding he couldn’t even state whether Trump had broken the law because “it would be unfair to the president, because the fact that he can’t be charged means he can’t clear his name with an acquittal at trial.”
Mueller instead punted a fix to Congress. After examining Congress’ role through the lens of separation of powers in the US Constitution and past court cases, Mueller concluded in his report that lawmakers are the ones with the authority to act in cases in which a president may have committed obstruction of justice.
“With respect to whether the President can be found to have obstructed justice by exercising his powers under Article II of the Constitution, we concluded that Congress has authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice,” Mueller’s report reads.
He added this critical line: “The conclusion that Congress may apply obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”
Mueller wrote that no person — not even the president of the United States — is above the law, and that the US Constitution doesn’t “categorically and permanently immunize a President for obstructing justice.” DOJ precedent effectively prevented Mueller from charging a sitting president but, as Prokop wrote, Mueller’s decision to investigate and lay out the potential for crimes and still not come to a conclusion one way or another sets another precedent for future presidents to act above the law — especially if they have confidence a politically split Congress won’t do anything about it.
Congress’s next steps will be critical because Mueller’s report explicitly states, “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Many Democrats viewed this as tantamount to an invitation to the House Judiciary Committee to open an impeachment inquiry — something House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her top lieutenants have been hesitant to wade into. The Democratic leader has instead advocated for her party to continue investigating the president, even as a growing number of her caucus calls for an inquiry to be opened.
The number of calls for an inquiry grew even more after Mueller’s public statement. Even if he is simply talking about the already known conclusions of his report, there’s the potential to cause even more Democrats to back an inquiry.
The drumbeat on an impeachment inquiry is growing steadily, but whatever House Democrats do, it is a decision now out of Mueller’s hands.
Tik Tok China Daily Trending Videos 20190602 抖音每日热门视频
#涂磊 Parenting and children’s 52 things Children’s Day, personally light your care! #摇音小助手(#涂磊育儿之和孩子的52件事 六一儿童节，亲手点亮你的小心愿！#抖音小助手) – 涂磊
Blame me… didn’t choose well… Hey! !(怪我了…没选好…唉！！) – A.燁煬(拳师犬阿卢)
This is quite fun(好好玩哦) – 陈乔恩
After 90, the old Timo will have to pass 6.1! I also sang a short paragraph of Deng Ziqi’s “The Devil from Heaven” #魔的天堂鬼# Today is a child(90后老提莫也要过6.1哼！我也唱一小段邓紫棋的《来自天堂的魔鬼》#来自天堂的魔鬼 #今天就做个孩子) – 冯提莫
200w powder thank you for giving you a peach blossom in the June 1st ~ Song pants is good for jumping this! I loved ~#original national wind plan(200w粉感谢❤️在六一给大家来一首桃花笑～宋裤好适合跳这个！我爱了～#原创国风计划) – Fofo酱
Is the June 6 unfair to me? ! ? ! Is my mom fake? !(六一节对我这么不公平吗？！？！我妈是假的吗？！) – 陈赫
Teacher Lang said: If a meal can’t be solved, then… two meals(浪老师说：如果一顿饭解决不了的，那就…….两顿) – 慕容瑞驰
Jie Ge, I forgive you.(杰哥我原谅你了) – 小沈阳
You are really funny, jump up, wipe your mouth, and go to sleep right away. #看我多玩玩#猫#摇音小助手(你确实很搞笑，跳上去，擦擦嘴，马上就睡觉#看我多会玩 #猫 #抖音小助手) – 可可西里
For the history of urine, this last expression(为啥史尿多最后这个表情) – 哈K
Childhood is – will look at the rain like it grows up but will envy it so rain, 6.1 happy(童年就是——会像它一样看雨 长大却会羡慕它这样看雨，6.1快乐) – 十一
Don’t let her wear high heels when going out with friends, or you will be like me.(以后跟朋友出门千万不要让她穿高跟鞋，不然你就会像我一样) – 赵铁柱
The sneak shot of a man who is about to be a father. Are men all like this?(偷拍即将当爸爸的男人。男人是不是都是这样) – 娜娜有个别人家男友
The video was found out, and the tone was lowered. It was not shouted out. It was recorded once, and I was afraid of disturbing others. The certificate is a civilized dormitory.(视频呢找出来了，降调了，不是喊出来的，就录了一遍儿，怕打扰到别人。奖状是文明宿舍。) – 风浪才子
Eat a daughter-in-law’s mental weight loss and my action to lose weight … @ Zoo Band @音乐盒(吃货媳妇的精神减肥和我的行动减肥 …@动物园乐队 @音乐盒子) – Q朋克
Some of the Magic Fairy dialects that Grandma is learning on the way home, you guess who said it. I wish you all a happy day #六一儿童节#雨女无瓜(奶奶在回家的路上现学的一些魔仙堡方言，你们猜猜是谁说的。 祝大家六一快乐#六一儿童节 #雨女无瓜) – 淘气陈奶奶
What is this position? #邓超#Deng Chao Yinhe Tuition Class @摇音小助手(请问这是什么走位？#邓超 #邓超银河补习班 @抖音小助手) – 邓超工作室
On the Children’s Day, Children’s Day is so against me, should I endure it?(六一儿童节小歪居然这么对我，我该忍着么) – 开挂的猫二歪
Classmates, Happy Children’s Day! #Apple original camera #vlog日常#爱#六一 @摇音小助手(同学，六一快乐！#苹果原相机 #vlog日常 #爱情 #六一 @抖音小助手) – 土木一班姜同学
Happy Children’s Day(六一快樂) – 张庭
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