Wednesday Night Open Thread

There was a hearing today in the case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

John Edwards is back in the courtroom - practicing law.

El Capo is about to begin. It's really hard to understand without captions. I wish there was an episode review guide somewhere.

Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    The New York Times has published ... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 11:33:27 PM EST
    ... an investigatory piece by Walt Bogdanich that levels some very serious charges at Florida State University and the Tallahassee Police Department, regarding their handling of allegations that Heisman Trophy-winning QB Jameis Winston raped an FSU coed back in early December 2012:

    New York Times | April 16, 2014
    A Star Player Accused, and a Flawed Rape Investigation -- "Early on the morning of Dec. 7, 2012, a freshman at Florida State University reported that she had been raped by a stranger somewhere off campus after a night of drinking at a popular Tallahassee bar called Potbelly's. As she gave her account to the police, several bruises began to appear, indicating recent trauma. Tests would later find semen on her underwear. For nearly a year, the events of that evening remained a well-kept secret until the woman's allegations burst into the open, roiling the university and threatening a prized asset: Jameis Winston, one of the marquee names of college football. Three weeks after Mr. Winston was publicly identified as the suspect, the storm had passed. The local prosecutor announced that he lacked the evidence to charge Mr. Winston with rape. The quarterback would go on to win the Heisman Trophy and lead Florida State to the national championship. In his announcement, the prosecutor, William N. Meggs, acknowledged a number of shortcomings in the police investigation. In fact, an examination by The New York Times has found that there was virtually no investigation at all, either by the police or the university." (Emphasis is mine.)

    Strictly my opinion, but since this story has been resurrected, I think that it's now fair to ask publicly whether either or both the university and the local police placed the interests of the Seminole football program ahead of the well being of the 19-year-old woman who claimed to have been sexually assaulted by one of the team's then-top recruits.

    FSU officials have vigorously denied the Times' charges, and this afternoon issued a public statement:

    "The university expresses its deep disappointment in today's New York Times story alleging FSU officials did not properly investigate a rape allegation against Winston `in apparent violation of federal law.' It also vigorously objects to the newspaper's characterization of the university as being uncooperative in explaining its actions." (There's more, so click on the above link.)

    As of tonight, a spokesperson for the Tallahassee police has declined comment on the New York Times' bombshell story, other than to say that the department "takes seriously the obligation to respond to any citizen who wants to report a crime, regardless of who they are accusing."

    All huffing and puffing by university officials aside, it still remains to be determined if the university violated provisions of Title IX by not aggressively following up on the female student's charges and immediately opening an investigation into her claims.

    Because in fact, it wasn't until January of this year, a full 13 months after the alleged incident was first reported, before FSU officials ever convened a hearing to look into it. Compounding that is the revelation that one of Seminole Coach Jimbo Fisher's own assistants inquired of Tallahassee PD as to the status of the department's own investigation -- such as it was, given the Times' account -- fully one year earlier, in January 2013. So FSU football coaches were certainly fully aware of the incident involving their star recruit, at least. Did they bother to inform their superiors in the athletic department and university administration?

    Further, the U.S. Dept. of Education's Office for Civil Rights announced on April 4 that it has opened its own inquiry into the matter. This could potentially lead to a significant loss of federal funding for university programs, should that office find that FSU for whatever reason breached Title IX protocols and violated federal law.

    And should it be further shown that FSU and TPD either deliberately slow-walked or actively stonewalled their respective investigations into the young woman's charges, the NCAA might well feel compelled to open its own official investigation into the matter, given how severely that organization dropped the hammer on Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.


    Correction: (none / 0) (#4)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 01:19:25 AM EST
    It wasn't an FSU assistant football coach, but one of the university's assistant athletic directors who contacted Tallahassee PD regarding the investigation into the rape allegations against Jameis Winston. So, the athletic department was in fact aware of what was going on. Whether its personnel notified and updated the university administration about it has yet to be clarified.

    I hope everybody (none / 0) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 09:24:14 PM EST
    had a nice day today and Howdy's flowers aren't too damaged. I've been chatting on another blog and apparently a lot of Republicans are worried about Nathan Deal losing the gubernatorial race here in GA in the fall. Well, I'll believe that when I see it. Everybody knew he was corrupt the first time around as it was brought up during the GOP primaries.

    No news really in the senate race. I guess we're not going to know a whole lot until the GOP picks a candidate.

    speaking of John Edwards... (none / 0) (#2)
    by desertswine on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 10:49:50 PM EST
    Bunny Mellon recently died at 103yrs.