College cheating scandal is the tip of the iceberg

(CNN)“We’re not talking about donating a building, we’re talking about fraud,” said Andrew Lelling, the US Attorney for Massachusetts, as he announced indictments in a massive scheme alleging that celebrities and other wealthy individuals used cheating, bribes, and lies to get their kids into elite colleges. The behavior described in this alleged fraud should be punished. But on a broader and more basic level, the case also sheds light on deep inequities in our college admissions system. Because if someone can get their kid into Harvard by buying a building, let alone by committing any of the alleged acts emerging from this case, the scandal isn’t just what’s illegal, but what’s legal as well. When it came to athletics, the …

Flint water crisis shows the danger of a scientific dark age

(CNN)After comedian Michelle Wolf ended her monologue at the 2018 White House Correspondents’ Dinner with the resounding mic drop: “Flint still doesn’t have clean water,” a parade of celebrities, including Alyssa Milano, Susan Sarandon, Michael Moore and Omarosa Manigault, shared similar proclamations. For starters, there is no such thing as completely safe drinking water. Even bottled water has some risks, ranging from bacteria to microplastics. Meanwhile, Flint still has extremely high water costs, according to a Michigan Radio analysis, and an oversized antiquated water system, which contributed to the initial water crisis in Flint. However, this kind of system also exists and endangers public health in thousands of other American towns and cities. In other words, claiming Flint water is …

Ex-Yale Law admissions dean: These are the victims of cheating scandal I worry about

(CNN)The FBI’s arrest of more than 50 people associated with what may be the largest college admissions cheating scandal in history has exposed how access to resources and connections can distort the admissions process — to an allegedly illegal extreme — and hurt ordinary applicants. As a former admissions dean at Yale Law School, I worry about another group of victims: future talented college applicants from underprivileged backgrounds who may opt out of reaching for the most selective schools, believing that the deck is already stacked against them. Join us on Twitter and Facebook Unfortunately, the case also magnifies applicants’ worst fears about the process and provides fodder for naysayers, such as cynical parents or counselors, to tell students — …

Why did Trump need to employ a professional liar?

(CNN)Michael Cohen brought a series of bombshell allegations to his appearance Wednesday before the House Oversight and Reform Committee — and touched off a bizarre partisan battle in the room. CNN’s commentators weigh in on the hearing. The opinions expressed here are their own. The viewers will have to judge how much, if any, of Cohen’s testimony about President Donald Trump they accept. But I found the frantic efforts of Trump’s rabid defenders to dismiss Cohen as a “pathological criminal” curious in one major respect: This is the same man Donald Trump kept by his side for a decade, to handle his most sensitive assignments — to handle clandestine deals and make bad stories go away. Cohen was Trump’s fixer. …

Get ready for a wild week

(CNN)If you thought this past week’s news cycle — dominated by President Donald Trump’s “Saturday Night Live” Twitter rant, former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s media blitz and court appearances by Jussie Smollett and Roger Stone — was a whirlwind, just wait for this coming week. While Trump wished Sanders well as a fellow rival of Hillary Clinton’s in his 2016 run, it’s unlikely the President will have too much time to focus on the Democratic candidates this week, as he heads to Vietnam for a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. David Reynolds, Professor of International History at Cambridge University, saidin an exchange with CNN military and diplomatic analyst John Kirby that there are pros and …