Something to Think About During Today’s Army/Navy Game


Three weeks into the 2014 school year, Lewis, who was still on crutches and needed surgery, says she met Ahmad Ali Bradshaw, a West Point quarterback who was best friends with her roommate.

One night, as Lewis later told West Point investigators, she came back to her room after a shower. Bradshaw was there and, she claimed, he raped her.

Bradshaw denied having any sexual contact with Lewis at all, according to an internal investigation report obtained by The Daily Beast. Bradshaw also chose to not render an official statement and invoked his right to remain silent.

West Point’s internal investigation concluded that a consensual sexual relationship between the cadets had occurred, and a second investigation, by the Army Criminal Investigation Division and the Staff Judge Advocate, found there was “insufficient evidence” to charge Bradshaw with sexual assault.

Bradshaw declined to comment on the allegations when contacted by a Daily Beast reporter, and West Point denied an interview with Bradshaw, saying in an email that it was a “really busy time given the classroom environment and the upcoming Army Navy activities.”

Read the whole thing. I wonder if this has caught Gillibrand’s attention.

Russiagate Open Thread: Meanwhile, What News of the Prince of Amway?

Erik Prince, brother of Betsy deVos, founder of Blackwater (now Academi), testified before the US House of Representatives Select Committe on Intelligence on November 30th. A 105-page transcript of his testimony has been released, and is providing much fodder for specialists…


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The DPRK Has Conducted Another Ballistic Missile Test

I’m sure Cheryl will be along with greater details once we have them, but in the meantime:

This is a little unusual for this time of year. The typical pattern is that the DPRK essentially stops weapons testing from the late fall through the winter.

Pyongyang’s last recorded weapons test occurred 73 days ago, on Sept. 15. That launch, in which a missile was fired over Japan, capped a bout of activity that had heralded a number of technological developments in North Korea’s weapons program, including the test of its most powerful nuclear bomb yet.

The DPRK’s military training cycle also contributes to the annual fourth quarter slowdown’s in testing.

North Korea hasn’t fired a missile for 60 days, but that may have more to do with its own winter training cycle than with Pyongyang easing off on provocations.

Since Kim Jong Un took power in late 2011, only five of the isolated nation’s 85 rocket launches have taken place in the October-December quarter, according to The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies’ North Korea Missile Test Database.

The Korean People’s Army regularly enters its training cycle every winter “and getting ready for it involves a calm before the storm,” said Van Jackson, a strategy fellow at the Center for Strategic Studies at Victoria University of Wellington.

“Fall is the harvest season, and a lot of military labor is dedicated to agricultural output when not in war mode; inefficient, but it’s the nature of the North Korean system,” said Jackson, a former U.S. Department of Defense adviser. “It’s a routine, recurring pattern, which means we should expect a surge in provocations in the early months next year.”

North Korea’s last launch was on Sept. 15, when the isolated state fired its second missile over Japan in as many months. That missile that flew far enough to put the U.S. territory of Guam in range.

As more information becomes available, what we know about today’s launch is likely to change. So stay frosty!

ARA San Juan: The Argentinian Navy is Reporting All Hands Lost

The ARA San Juan went missing on November 15th. Provided it didn’t sink below its crush depth, and without being able to surface and employ her snorkel, it had seven days of oxygen reserves. Those reserves would have been exhausted yesterday and it appears that the Argentinian Navy has come to the conclusion that the ARA San Juan is lost. The San Juan carried a crew of forty-four, including Argentina’s first female submariner.

Since it was first written in the mid 19th Century, a number of additional verses have been written by different authors for the Navy Hymn. These cover naval aviators, Coast Guardsmen, naval aviators who have become astronauts, Sea Bees, and, of course, submariners. Here is the specific verse penned for the members of the silent service:

Lord God, our power evermore,
Whose arm doth reach the ocean floor,
Dive with our men beneath the sea;
Traverse the depths protectively.
O hear us when we pray, and keep
Them safe from peril in the deep.
David B. Miller (1965)

One Hundred and Fifty-Four Years Ago: The Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address

(Lincoln Address Memorial, US National Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA)

One hundred and fifty-four years ago today Abraham Lincoln gave an address to dedicate the national cemetery. He did so about 300 yards from where the memorial in the picture above stands, hence the explanatory marker in the lower left. Lincoln’s address, now known as the Gettysburg Address, was written in DC and revised upon his arrival in Gettysburg.

As is often the case with historic documents before the advent of carbon paper, let alone photocopying, word processors, and computers, there are multiple surviving versions of Lincoln’s dedicatory remarks. This includes two copies written before the speech, including the actual reading copy, and three others prepared for specific individuals after the speech. You can read all five versions here. The Nicolay copy, which was written on White House stationery also includes Lincoln’s revisions and additions after his arrival in Gettysburg on a second page of foolscap, is the reading copy he delivered at Gettysburg on 19 November 1863.

The Nicolay Copy (2nd and Reading Draft) of the Gettysburg Address:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal.”

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow, this ground—The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us —that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

(Nicolay Copy of the Gettysburg Address)

And here is what I always think of as the definitive documentation of how President Lincoln drafted his remarks.


The Coup Du Jour: Zimbabwe Edition


(Punch Cartoon by Bud Handelsman*)

There appears to be a soft coup going on in Zimbabwe. Specifically no shots have been fired and no one has been killed (as far as I can tell from the reporting). There are few if any troops on the street. Mugabe has been confined at home and there is a push to remove his wife from the chain of succession. And the recently ousted Vice President, Emerson Mnangagwa, has returned to Zimbabwe.

One of the ways that you know a coup is happening is:

From The Guardian:

Robert Mugabe remains in detention at his home in Zimbabwe more than 12 hours after the military declared on national television that it had temporarily taken control of the country to “target criminals” around the head of state.

The move by the armed forces appears to have resolved a bitter battle to succeed the 93-year-old president, which had pitted his former vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, against Mugabe’s wife, Grace.

Mnangagwa was reported to have returned to Zimbabwe on Tuesday evening from South Africa, where he fled last week after being stripped of his office by Mugabe in an apparent attempt to clear Grace Mugabe’s path to power.

The military takeover comes two days after the army chief – flanked by other senior officers – said he was prepared to “step in” to end turmoil in the ruling Zanu-PF party.

It is likely to signal the departure from power of the world’s oldest leader within days, weeks or at most months.

One high-profile opposition leader said there was “a lot of talking going on”, with the army reaching out to them to discuss the formation of a transitional government after Mugabe steps down.

Negotiations had been ongoing for several months with “certain people within the army”, a second senior opposition official said.

The official said Mugabe would resign this week and be replaced by Mnangagwa, with opposition leaders taking posts as vice-president and prime minister. There was no independent confirmation of his claim.

In its other reportingThe Guardian has also confirmed that Grace Mugabe has fled Zimbabwe for Namibia.

The questions now are will this remain largely non-violent and can a government emerge from the soft coup that is considered to have at least de facto legitimacy even if it doesn’t have de jure legitimacy?

* This is one of my favorite Punch Cartoons. Handelsman did a great job capturing the insane type of announcements often made when a coup is actually undertaken.

AG Sessions’ House Judiciary Committee Testimony Live Stream

I want to thank Cheryl for putting up her congressional hearings post as I couldn’t get to it in time, but since she’s having trouble with the video embeds, I figured I’d put up a post to resolve that problem.

Here’s the live feed for AG Sessions’ appearance before the House Judiciary Committee.

And here’s the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the President’s authority to unilaterally order nuclear strikes:

Open thread!