- This just in 3:08pm ET
Today's "bad behavior in football" report comes from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
The Colorado Springs Gazette obtained documents outlining a January night in which high school football recruits were treated to alcohol, VIP treatment courtesy of money from boosters, and "dates" in the form of female cadets. West Point self-reported the recruiting violation to the NCAA, which issued a warning this month and noted that if another violation occurs, first-year coach Jeff Monken could face suspension.
Football players tabbed "cadet hosts" reportedly entertained 14 high school recruits on Jan. 24 with a party bus ride to a nearby bowling alley, "known for turning a blind eye to underage drinking," according to the report. Booster money allocated for the evening was used to purchase beer towers and other alcoholic beverages. In February, West Point's director of football operations, Lt. Col. Chad Davis, reportedly asked female students to act as "dinner dates" for another round of recruits.
"We want recruits to see that there are pretty girls that go here," Davis reportedly told the women. "There are not just masculine women that attend West Point."
The academy suspended two football staffers, disciplined two more, and issued new recruiting visit guidelines. West Point says it disciplined the cadets involved, all of whom remain on the football team.
- 2014 midterms 2:31pm ET
Here's one strategy for the final weeks of your campaign: Do basically nothing.
A new poll released this week shows California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) leads his opponent, Republican Neel Kashkari, by a margin of 52 percent to 36 percent. That's all the more impressive considering Brown hasn't run a single TV campaign ad this year hyping his bid for a fourth term. In fact, The Washington Post reports that Brown's campaign expenditures amount to just $500,000, and those were for, "consultants, office space, insurance, and other necessities on his own behalf."
Where Brown has spent money is on advertisements urging voters to support two ballot measures. Propositions 1 and 2 would invest billions on projects such as water storage and recycling, and excess revenue catchalls for downturns in the state's economy, respectively. Brown has spent nearly seven times more — $3.3 million and counting — on ads informing voters about the measures.
While such actions could veer toward election hubris, Brown's game plan was probably helped by the fact that he has a "credible war chest" to fall back on — reportedly more than $20 million in the bank — although it looks like that money will be able to stay right where it is.
- A little piece of history 1:59pm ET
Peru's Ministry of Culture announced this week that archeologists have discovered a stone at the Inkawasi archeological site with 13 angles — one more than the country's famed 12-Angle Stone, the Peruvian Times reports.
Researchers studying a part of the Inca road network found the meticulously cut stone fitted into the site's irrigation system. Andean civilizations stretching back to the Incas have valued water sources as sacred, and Inkawasi was considered especially important because of its location, which is at the beginning of the river that supplies the Huaytara valley with water.
The new find has not officially out-angled Peru's original famous stone just yet. The 12-Angle Stone is located in the ruins of Hatunrumiyoc Palace, a fixture in a wall pieced carefully together that showcases the Incas' masonry skills.
- Goodbye 1:26pm ET
Cream, which also included guitarist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker, sold 35 million albums in just over two years and were awarded the world's first ever platinum disc for their album "Wheels of Fire."
Bruce wrote and sang most of the songs, including "I Feel Free," "White Room," "Politician," and "Sunshine Of Your Love." [AP]
Watch the video below, featuring a classic performance of one of Bruce's greatest songs with Cream, "Tales of Brave Ulysses." The tune displays both his energetic singing and his highly influential rock-bass style, which was simultaneously heavy and melodic. --Eric Kleefeld
- Quotables 12:58pm ET
Russian President Vladimir Putin used a Friday speech to promise that international forces would not topple Moscow from its place of power.
"The bear is the master of the taiga," Putin said in the speech, reported by the Los Angeles Times. "It is not going to move to another climate. It's not going to give up its taiga to anyone."
Speaking to Russian scholars during the country's annual Valdai International Discussion Club, Putin jumped back and forth between claiming that he only wants international respect for his country, and warning the West against interference into the Kremlin's operations.
"The Cold War is over. But it did not end with peace," Putin said.
He blamed the United States for ongoing conflicts in countries such as Syria and Iraq, and he suggested that Washington's role in Ukraine amounted to a "coup d'etat" of former president Viktor Yanukovich, who was supported by Moscow and ousted from power in February. Putin also dismissed accusations that Russia is supporting separatist militants in eastern Ukraine.
"Statements that Russia is trying to reinstate some sort of empire encroaching on the sovereignty of neighbors, are groundless," he said.
- Really? 12:23pm ET
Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who drew national exposure earlier this year — first for staring down the government over grazing rights but then for making blatantly racist remarks — appears in a new political ad for an Independent American Party candidate for Congress.
Kamau Bakari, who is black, and Bundy appear next to a white horse, both bedecked in cowboy gear, talking about the importance of being able to speak candidly, politically correct or not.
"I know the black folks have had a hard time with, uh, slavery," Bundy says during the segment. "And, you know, the government was in on it."
Bakari later commends Bundy: "A brave white man like you might be just what we need to put an end to this political correctness stuff in America."
Bundy told the Los Angeles Times that Bakari's campaign approached him about filming the ad a week or so ago, and that he showed up, recited the lines the campaign gave to him, and that was that.
Watch the new ad in its entirety, here.
- 2014 midterms 11:49am ET
Kristen Anderson, who worked as a communications director for the Iowa Senate Republican Caucus, filed a lawsuit last week against the caucus alleging sexual harassment by male colleagues, and reporting that her female superiors overlooked the behavior.
"By way of just one example," Anderson's suit alleges, "Sen. Joni Ernst of Red Oak and Sen. Sandra Greiner of Keota witnessed sexual innuendo and inappropriate behavior exhibited by their male colleagues and did and said nothing while female staffers stood by unable to say anything."
Anderson does not name Ernst as a defendant in the lawsuit, but the Republican Iowa Senate candidate released a statement, reported by Mother Jones, denying the allegation. A spokeswoman for Ernst suggested that the lawsuit is a smear campaign by Democrat candidate Bruce Braley, which his supporters denied. Michael J. Carroll, the attorney representing Anderson, said there were no political leanings one way or the other, and that "while the lawsuit mentions state Sen. Ernst, it also mentions many other state senators, including Democratic senators."
Anderson's lawsuit claims that she was fired after filing her sexual harassment complaints in 2013 with a superior in the caucus. A Republican staffer responding to the allegations said Anderson was let go because of substandard work.
- Watch this 10:08am ET
Taking bittersweet nostalgia to new heights, "Fifi," — the last World War II-era B-29 bomber still operational — carried veterans up, up, and away at an air expo in New Orleans on Friday.
"It was kind of emotional, you know… to hear those engines rev up," David Fisher, a WWII vet, said.
The bomber travels the country, supported by the National WWII Museum and the Commemorative Air Force, bridging decades through flight.
"That's its mission now, is to travel the country and tell this story," David Oliver, of the Commemorative Air Force, said.
Watch the vets take to the skies once more in The Associated Press video, below. --Sarah Eberspacher
- misfires 9:47am ET
If you're looking to gift a cheap smartphone this Christmas — one that can't properly run apps such as Google Maps or YouTube, and is overshadowed by more well-known options such as the iPhone or Samsung devices — then Amazon has your answer.
The company's Fire Phone has reportedly seriously undersold, with The Guardian estimating that Amazon moved just 35,000 units in the first month (a typical first month of sales records more than a million sold units). Amazon released the new device in June as a competitor to top-end smartphone options, but the company quickly cut the Fire Phone's upfront cost to just 99 cents in response to disappointing sales. While Amazon did not include the Fire Phone's writedown in its third-quarter earnings statement, chief financial officer Tom Szkutak said in a later earnings call that the "consolidated segment operating loss includes charges of approximately $170 million, primarily related to the Fire Phone inventory evaluation and supplier commitment cost."
The Guardian estimates that Amazon still has between 200,000 and 300,000 unsold Fire Phone units in its warehouses.
- This just in 9:12am ET
Despite international outcry, Iran executed Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, on Saturday, CNN reports.
Jabbari was sentenced to death in 2007 following a "flawed investigation and unfair trial," according to Amnesty International. Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former employee of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security, allegedly hired Jabbari for an interior design project, but Jabbari told officials that Sarbandi tried to sexually assault her while she was in the home, at which point she stabbed him once in the back. Amnesty International says Jabbari was subsequently placed in solitary confinement for two months, during which time she was tortured and denied access to an attorney.
The United Nations reports that Iran has executed more than 170 people this year, a surge that some human rights groups attribute to new President Hassan Rouhani's administration.
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