More unraveling.

Not that it matters so much anymore, but the Rolling Stone rape story is unraveling further. Slate picks apart the revelations, and comes to the money shot:

Here’s the most disturbing journalistic detail to emerge from the Post’s reporting: In the Rolling Stone story, Erdely says that she contacted Randall, but he declined to be interviewed, “citing his loyalty to his own frat.” Randall told the Post he was never contacted by Erdely and would have been happy to be interviewed.

That could mean one of two things: Jackie could have given Erdely fake contact information for Randall and then posed as Randall herself, sending the reporter that email in which he supposedly declined to participate in the story. Erdely also could have lied about trying to contact Randall. Rolling Stone might have hinted at this possibility in its “Note to Our Readers” when it referred to a “friend of Jackie’s (who we were told would not speak to Rolling Stone)” but later spoke to the Washington Post. That would take Erdely a big step beyond just being gullible and failing to check her facts, moving this piece in the direction of active wrongdoing.

I take no satisfaction from this, believe me. This has moved from making rape victims look bad to making journalists look even worse. I simply don’t understand how anyone with a shred of skepticism could swallow that story.

However, the day also provided this delightful bit of reading material, at least for film fans and devotees of “Boogie Nights” — an oral history of the very same film. I’m only partway through, and have already learned that Sean Penn was in consideration for the Alfred Molina role. I hope it’s a testament to how well the film worked that I can’t imagine his craggy old face yelling, “Come on, you puppies!” Loved that movie.

Posted at 9:10 am in Media, Movies |

55 responses to “More unraveling.”

  1. Kirk said on December 11, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Re: Beb in previous thread. Like Robert Caro’s other books, “The Power Broker” is a monumental piece of history. Having read it in the last year or so, I highly recommend it.

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  2. brian stouder said on December 11, 2014 at 11:49 am

    What a week; a story about institutionally protected gang-rape (which does exist) goes some distance to shining a light on institutional weakness within our free press; all amidst the terrible revelations of specific horrors that we all knew (in a general sense) were (or still are?) institutionally implemented by the United States against whatever sad-sack people we scooped up over the past 13 years during “The War on Terrah!”

    The sort of week that shakes one’s worldview, and makes you shake your head

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  3. brian stouder said on December 11, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Kirk – I’ve added it to my Christmas list!

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  4. Deborah said on December 11, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Holy Cow, that Boogie Nights piece was a fantastic read. I remember seeing the movie when it came out and being blown away by Phillip Seymour Hoffman in it. I’ve read the stuff that’s come out recently about Mark Wahlberg asking for a pardon for the crimes he committed long ago, he was a hideous person back in his youth.

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  5. Deborah said on December 11, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    And Jolene, your suggestion from the last thread about the book, “The Dark Side” by Jane Mayer was a good one, I read the reviews on Amazon and I’m going to see if I can find a print edition today to read on my plane ride tomorrow.

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  6. Jolene said on December 11, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    The news has my head spinning too. So many big stories with so many commentaries and perspectives. The UVa story has, at least, the possibility of being sorted out at some point. Am not so sure that is true with regard to the torture issue. The combination of partisan interests, professional ass-covering, and vague causal links may leave us wondering forever who knew what when, what exactly happened, and what difference it all made.

    Meanwhile, I am yearning to see some of the new movies, dig into some of the books on my shelf, and poke around in a couple of lists that I’ve encountered recently. The first is a list of favorite books compiled by Jonathan Yardley, who just retired after many years as a WaPo book critic. The link below is his valedictory essay; if you’re not interested in the essay, you can scroll all the way to the bottom to find a link to his book list. It’s an interesting list–some classics, but also a wide range of more contemporary material as well.

    My second list is from Longreads, a web site (and app) that puts together a weekly list of the best examples of longform journalism on any topic. This list is their end-of-the-year best of the best–one item from each of their weekly lists. A way to catch up on some of what you missed this year. If you want to see more of what they selected throughout the year, just go to

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  7. john not mccain said on December 11, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Loved the Boogie Nights article. My favorite part was Joanna Gleason asking PTA if her character was based on his mother. He just tears up and doesn’t say anything and she says if it is, you don’t have to forgive her. That really hit home.

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  8. Charlotte said on December 11, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    And — Beverly Johnson on Bill Cosby drugging her:

    Meanwhile, my FB feed is full of middle aged white guys who never served defending torture. I think my “friends” list is about to shrink again.

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  9. brian stouder said on December 11, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Charlotte, a few years back, I went into facebook world. Although I liked the picture-sharing thing, it took me about a year to realize FB’s just not for me.

    For one thing, I kept trimming down my ‘friends’ list – to keep it around 10 or 12 people; it puzzled me why people would ever want dozens (or hundreds, or more!) “friends” on their list.

    And then, killing the account was like trying to slay Dracula…although I think I got it well and truly done.

    But I confess that I cheat. Good ol’ Pamela (my lovely wife) does the FB thing, so if there’s a really good thing to see, she shows me

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  10. Charlotte said on December 11, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    I like it for old friends from different parts of my life — I went to high school and college with really smart people, there are old Telluride friends from my ski-bum days, a bunch of writers. Since we’re scattered all across the globe, it’s nice to see what people are up to — and there’s a core bunch of Unitarian clergy/union reps/political activists I like to follow. But I’ve had to “hide” a bunch of the old Lake Forest types, the ones who think that the fact that they work at all means they’re not trust funders … and some of the second tier commenters are really annoying.

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  11. Deborah said on December 11, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    I found the book “The Dark Side”, by Jane Mayer about how torture came to be, instigated by the US, at the local Barnes & Noble, one copy. I bought it and am trying to keep myself from starting until tomorrow when I’m at the airport or on the plane to Santa Fe. I was kind of surprised to find it in print but happy since I didn’t bring my iPad with me to purchase it digitally.

    I’m finishing up a book of short stories by James Salter that I’m hoping to complete tonight. I read his book “All That Is” before that and liked it so wanted to read more.

    It’s been an interesting trip to Chicago this time. I found myself being quite a recluse, spending most of my time watching the world go by from the 27th floor on Lake Shore Drive. Partly it was because of the weather, it was quite cold in the beginning of November when I got here but it’s gotten better, at least for some of the time. I forgot how grey Chicago is compared to New Mexico where it’s incredibly sunny all the time. How quickly we forget. I’ve enjoyed my stay, for sure, but I’m also looking forward to getting back to dryness and constant sunshine.

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  12. Dexter said on December 11, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Several of you were kindly concerned as I reported on my sudden illness just after Thanksgiving. Since then I have been in the care of a doctor and two days ago I entered the Veterans Administration Health Care System, located in Toledo. Thorough examination and x-ray revealed fluid buildup in one lung and pleural sac and I was put on antibiotics and other meds and a stronger inhaler. I put off joining the VA system because my retiree insurance was adequate. Things change. I am ambulatory and feeling OK, walking the dogs, shopping…I am on the mend. And MichaelG… today I filed for compensation from Agent Orange exposure while “boots on the ground” and after a year or so if my claim is accepted I’ll get a small pension monthly. I hope things go smoothly for you as you progress through the system. Toledo is a marvelous facility. I moved quickly from nurse exam to doctor assessment to x-ray to lab to pharmacy pick-up in a very fast-paced procession. As I left I could not believe my entire time there, including a one hour orientation, was 4.5 hours.

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  13. Deborah said on December 11, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Good thoughts go to you Dexter, I hope everything turns out OK.

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  14. Charlotte said on December 11, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Good for you Dexter — glad you’re getting the help you need. My mom had pleurisy ages ago and it’s painful.
    And Deborah — that’s why I never went back to the midwest. January 1988, top of the mountain at Telluride, sunny, blue skies, skiing in a sweater and I thought “I can’t ever go back there…”

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  15. Jolene said on December 11, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Good luck to you, Dexter. Am glad to hear that the VA served you well and quickly.

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  16. Suzanne said on December 11, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    I admit that from about Nov to April, I wonder everyday why in the heck I didn’t move heaven and eath years ago to get the heck out of the Midwest. I hate this constant gloom.

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  17. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 11, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    Blessings your way, Dexter. VA bright spots are out there, but not enough of ’em; glad to hear you’re standing in one.

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  18. MichaelG said on December 11, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    Great news, Dexter. I’m very pleased to hear that you are just about all the way back. Also glad to hear that you will be getting some pension benefits. We both should have filed years ago. It’s stupid to be too proud to file for benefits that you have well and truly earned.

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  19. Dexter said on December 12, 2014 at 4:31 am

    Thanks everybody; cyber friends are indeed real friends. 🙂
    I re-watched HBO’s “Sonic Highways” and fell asleep in the recliner. Now it’s almost 4:30 AM. I was watching the NYC episode. It’s OnDemand, so if you do have HBO, try to watch as many of the 8 episodes as you can, it’s so great. If you like any kind of American music or are interested in the history of American music, “Sonic Highways” is for you. Dave Grohl is the best. I need a piece of buttered toast and a good long sleep.

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  20. Bob (not Greene) said on December 12, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Neil Steinberg nails it again, this time regarding the CIA torture report

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  21. coozledad said on December 12, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Bob (not Greene):
    It’s also odd that the bulk of the cheerleaders for torture who think the report “harmed America” are the same oiks who sport snake flags or confederate flags or molon labe flags on their pickups.

    They don’t even know which fucking country they’re in, much less what supposedly makes up its moral foundation.

    And if you go back a hundred years or so, you can find their ancestors selling each other out to be tortured, disenfranchised, or divested of their property. They are the portion of the population who will always be adrift and unhappy here. I wish there were some easy way to turn that pack of dogs on each other, but they’d have to shift their asses off the sectional first.

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  22. brian stouder said on December 12, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Well, I think Elizabeth Warren bloomed as a national leader yestrerday, even if she didn’t formally announce herself as a 2016 presidential candidate.

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  23. brian stouder said on December 12, 2014 at 10:13 am


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  24. Charlotte said on December 12, 2014 at 10:36 am

    A former fact-checker on fabrication (remember Fragments?) and the UVA rape story:

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  25. adrianne said on December 12, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Howdy all. One of the best parts about working in New York City is monitoring the daily tabs’ take on the news. The headline win o’ the week? New York Daily News, for this gem on Bernie Madoff’s secretary getting six years in prison, considerably less than the 10-12 years she was expecting. The reason? The judge took pity on her because she’s 67, in ill health…and is really, really short. Four feet 7 inches tall, to be exact.

    And the Daily News headline? “Too Small to Jail”

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  26. coozledad said on December 12, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Lucky her. If she’d have been slightly taller and black she could have had her face punched in in a patrol car or her brains sprayed out on the street.

    It’s a good country for white trash.

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  27. coozledad said on December 12, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Maybe the dogs are sniffing each other’s asses, getting ready to fight. I sure hope so. Maybe there’s an upside to the black sites, secret detentions and torture; the people who authorized it might just find themselves on the shit end of the same stick:

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  28. brian stouder said on December 12, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Interesting article, indeed.

    Presumably the block-buster tell-all event for this (ala Pentagon Papers) is a few years away, still

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  29. coozledad said on December 12, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Meanwhile, the thin blue line what’s protectin’ us from the negroes is suffering more unjust punishments from the left:

    These men are doing a fine job with few resources!

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  30. Bob (not Greene) said on December 12, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Cooze, the intended victim in that story is a guy I know personally and who lives in one of the towns I cover. I was at the sentencing hearing yesterday. It was quite an experience.

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  31. Bitter Scribe said on December 12, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Until I read it here today, I never even realized that was Alfred Molina was in “Boogie Nights.” He’s one of those actors who has such a great dramatic range that he’s a true chameleon, disappearing into each role he plays.

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  32. Sherri said on December 12, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    I don’t know why Pierce is reluctant to believe that there were monsters in the Bush administration willing to torture to manufacture a casus belli. Does he think that G. Gordon Liddy would have been unwilling to do that? Or Oliver North? Or probably other “do whatever it takes to get the job done for my President” guys who never got caught?

    Maybe I’m too cynical, but I don’t believe that Liddy would have drawn the line at torture. I don’t believe Liddy had any lines. And I don’t think Mr. One Percent Doctrine had any lines, either.

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  33. MichaelG said on December 12, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    A little note about water in California. The water supply here in Northern California is primarily dependent on reservoirs like Folsom Lake, Lake Shasta, Lake Oroville, the San Luis Reservoir and so on. These once fine bodies of water are down to almost puddle status. What we don’t get from reservoirs comes from wells, community or personal. There are now lots of dry wells. But, thankfully, not my wife’s. Southern California is somewhat different in that it gets a lot of its supply from imported river water along with wells and from NorCal via canal. (Remember those NorCal reservoirs.)

    The largest reservoir in CA is the snow pack which largely supplies the other reservoirs. That’s right. The snow pack. Rainfall mostly runs off to the ocean. Some sinks in to the aquifer and some runs into the reservoirs but not anywhere near enough. So we can have all the rain in the world, but without a good season of snow and the resultant pack, we’ll be dry.

    The rain and snow season in CA runs from November through March. There is essentially no precip during other months. What we get during the season has to last all year. There is some taper on at the beginning and some taper off at the end but if we don’t get sufficient snow during those five months, we’re cooked. That is what has happened over the last few years. We gotten some snow, enough flow through to eke by, but not enough to replenish the reservoirs. We’ve pretty much gone through our reserves and are looking for a good season this time or we will have serious, widespread problems next year.

    The Department of Water Resources (DWR) conducts snow surveys a couple of times each season. I think you can see why the DWR guy walking out into a snow field on his snow shoes, carrying a long rod is followed by tons of cameras and is the lead story on the news that evening.

    We’ve had a lot of rain and more to the point, a lot of snow during the last 24 hours. It seems like we may have a good start on this year’s snow pack. He says, crossing his fingers and toes.

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  34. coozledad said on December 12, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Bob (not Greene): I’ll bet. The guy is remorseless.
    Imagine getting pulled by him when he was a little short on cash.

    You ought to do a story board for a series based on it.

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  35. Sherri said on December 12, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Mr. One Percent Doctrine on torture:

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  36. coozledad said on December 12, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Sherri: They’re in full ass covering mode, via blaming each other for it. Isolate them, get sworn depositions, and they’ll hang each other. These are the people the mainstream press carried water for. “The adults”.
    John Yoo:

    As a member of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel at the time of the 9/11 attacks, I thought that the CIA’s proposed interrogation methods were within the bounds of the law—just barely. They did not inflict serious, long-term pain or suffering, as prohibited by the federal statute banning torture. We realized then that waterboarding came closest to the line. But the fact that the U.S. military has used it to train thousands of U.S. airmen, officers, and soldiers without harm indicated that it didn’t constitute torture*. Limiting tough interrogation methods only to al Qaeda leaders thought to have actionable information, during a time when the nation was under attack, further underscored the measured, narrow nature of President Bush’s decision.

    I think we should even let them kick the chairs out from under each other, then a coin toss for the last two standing.

    *We executed Japanese combatants for this “coming close to the line”.

    Scalia says there’s “nothing in the Constitution proscribing torture”. What do you want to bet he’s in the loop and part of the firewall?

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  37. Sherri said on December 12, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Maybe Mr Latin Mass helped them out with some tips from the Inquisition.

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  38. Jolene said on December 12, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    The PBS NewsHour had a short piece about drinking on college campuses and its relation to sexual assault. They make the simple, but important, point that, every year, colleges must deal with a new group of students who are learning to live on their own in a world that encourages excessive drinking in too many ways. One of the interviewees is the president of a small college in Maryland, who has made curbing drinking a central concern of his administration, with some success. Amazing how many students admit to binge drinking. At his college, before their interventions, 59% of students said they would drink 4-5 drinks in a period of 2-3 hours.

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  39. brian stouder said on December 12, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Scalia says there’s “nothing in the Constitution proscribing torture”.

    Well, I’m no lawyer, and I’ll never be a Justice of the United States Supreme Court, but I know that the Eighth Amendment says:

    Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

    and inflicting torture on a person would seem to violate the letter and the spirit of that amendment – unless all this babble about our Founding Fathers and the (original) tea partiers and Declaration of Independence (“unalienable rights” and all that) really is just humbug and pretentious, nonsensical babble

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  40. beb said on December 13, 2014 at 2:12 am

    Scalia’s comments so far have been almost entirely paraphrased. We don;t know the context of the six words that are quoted. Still it is entirely possible that Scalia does not consider the extreme interrogation methods used to exceed a level of acceptable violence in questioning. Kind of like the Inquisition’s distinction that as long as the skin was not broken then it wasn’t really torture.

    Thus the origin of the phrase: “tortured logic.”

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  41. Deborah said on December 13, 2014 at 3:07 am

    I’m back in Santa Fe and it’s kind of depressing, mainly because my cat is not in a good way. She didn’t even know me when I walked in the door which is really unlike her. We’ve known that she’s been going through dementia, being confused a lot of the time but she’s not been like this before. Her coat isn’t shiny, she’s not eating, it’s time to do something. I’ve been looking for an in home euthanasia service, I don’t want to take her to the vet to do it, I want her last hours to be stress free.

    On the plane I was reading, The Dark Side, about the whole torture situation, it’s really good, I highly recommend it. Explains a lot.

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  42. Dexter said on December 13, 2014 at 4:03 am

    MichaelG: A few days ago someone sent a video of Bridal Veil Falls in Yosemite to NBC News where I saw it. December, and the water was majestically crashing down the mountainside. I thought that may be a great sign for a good 2015 .
    Bridal Veil Falls is the most beautiful natural site I have ever seen.

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  43. beb said on December 13, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Also the Cruel and Unusual Punishment phrase in the Constitution refers to punishments after conviction and not to measures used for interrogation before a trial. But then, hasn’t “strip-search Sammy” always been a little cavalier about the rights of individuals?

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  44. Jolene said on December 13, 2014 at 11:37 am

    The US is a signatory to the UN Convention on Torture. Based on this excerpt, it seems to call for prosecution.

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  45. brian stouder said on December 13, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Jolene, an excellent (and very concise) answer, to the Fox/Flying Monkey talking points, indeed

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  46. Joe K said on December 13, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    I know most on this board don’t watch or seem to like much college sport, and if you don’t that’s fine, to each his own, but these kids playing in the Army Navy game on now really deserve a big salute and thank you for doing what they do. Pretty much no chance to play pro, just playing for the pure love of the game.
    Go Army
    Pilot Joe

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  47. Sherri said on December 13, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Let’s not go too overboard in praising the football players of the service academy. Tying together some of the other recent topics on the board, I give you Navy football players, sexual assault, and college drinking:

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  48. Jolene said on December 13, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Deborah, Jane Mayer published a short piece on the release of the torture report. In brief, she is not impressed with how Obama handled it.

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  49. Deborah said on December 13, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    I have been impressed with Jane Mayer’ s assessment of the situation even though she’s clearly a liberal democrat she seems to tell both sides as they happened. I have no idea if that is true but it seems true to me.

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  50. Dexter said on December 14, 2014 at 4:04 am

    Aside from dealing with all the problems the service academies have and have always had, (and wouldn’t you think long and hard before sending a daughter to one of those places?) I still enjoy the Army-Navy Game and always have. It’s just one day a year, it’s the only football game played that day, and it’s a fun and patriotic way to enjoy a Saturday in early winter. When I was a kid I rooted for the Navy because my dad was a Navy vet, although certainly not an academy man. When I got out of the army Dad and I had a little bet going, like a bag of Kraft caramels, on the game, as I was then pulling for the Army. The Navy wins every year now, for what it’s worth.

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  51. Joe kobiels said on December 14, 2014 at 4:07 am

    Did you read the arrival?
    Not guilty.
    Pilot Joe

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  52. Sherri said on December 14, 2014 at 11:55 am

    I read the article. I followed the situation from the beginning.
    Not guilty is not the same as innocent. That there wasn’t enough to convict anyone doesn’t change the situation, that three Navy football players had sex with a highly intoxicated classmate. They don’t deny that, they just claim that it was her fault.
    Not exactly “officer and gentleman”.

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  53. brian stouder said on December 14, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    And indeed, while the accused is Not Guilty, he is also a certified liar.

    Col. Daniel Daugherty, the judge presiding over the trial, sent a lesser charge of making false statements back to the school to decide. On Thursday evening, a Naval Academy spokesman, Cmdr. John Schofield, said the school had agreed to accept Mr. Tate’s resignation in exchange for withdrawing the lying charge. “By resigning, Midshipman Tate has agreed to accept the most serious form of punishment a midshipman can receive through the conduct system — a dismissal from the Naval Academy,” he said.

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  54. Deborah said on December 14, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    When I opened the blinds this morning there was about an inch and a half of snow on everything. Beautiful. It was supposed to get up to 39 but windy today, so cold. We did some holiday decorating outside today, a wreath on the front door, some greens on a trellis and in in some galvanized tubs we have on either side of the entry beyond the portale. It put me in the holiday mood. I still have some other stuff I want to do out there. We’ve got a fire going inside now, the poor cat seems content but still not in good shape. I call the In-home euthanasia vet tomorrow. What a time to have to do this, but it’s necessary.

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  55. LAMary said on December 14, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    So sorry about your cat, Deborah. I’m sure she’s had a good life and has been loved and cared for.

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