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Education

Save the Date: 19 Nov. Managers and Staff; Career Advancement: How to Promote and be Promotable.

November 6, 2008 | By | No Comments

Your Business Blogger(R) is opening a Northern Virginia Community College classroom in Arlington, Virginia near the Ballston Metro for a one hour seminar:

Managers and Staff; Career Advancement: How to Promote and be Promotable.

There is no charge to sit in on the class. On Wednesday, Nov 19 at 4pm.

But you will need to email me to register — class size is limited.

Family Policy Councils: The Real Grass Roots Needed for the Next Conservative President

January 9, 2007 | By | One Comment

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Policy Review

November & December 1996In the mid-nineties, Charmaine wrote a column for Policy Review magazine. One of her articles reviewed the Family Policy Councils. The FPCs are state based non-profits considered faith-based, cultural and economic conservatives.

A conservative president usually needs Ohio to win. And the embrace of the Family Policy Councils.

These state-based organizations work somewhat with the Family Research Council in DC and Focus on the Family in Colorado.

Originally published in 1996; and even more important today.

State Groups That Fight for Mom and Dad

by Charmaine Crouse Yoest

Rudy Gonzalez, a “cowboy poet” with a handlebar mustache and a home-on-the-range accent, strummed his guitar, then launched into a joke. The crowd relaxed into laughter as he regaled them with tall tales and folk wisdom.

This is the Idaho Family Forum’s annual summer fundraiser, the Spud Bake, where this group of moms and dads marks the end of summer by eating baked potatoes. Lots of them. Followed by spud-shaped ice cream.

But cowboy poetry soon gave way to public policy. U.S. Senator Larry Craig rose to address the group, and the question-and-answer session that followed was brisk and well informed. The Idaho Family Forum (IFF) and its supporters are dedicated to changing cultural trends that are undermining the stability of families — from no-fault divorce to teen pregnancy to chronic welfare dependency.

Led by executive director Dennis Mansfield, a former businessman, the IFF is part of a growing national movement of independent, state-based policy organizations called Family Policy Councils (FPCs). There are now more than 30 such organizations across the country, loosely affiliated by shared goals, common strategies, and mutual support. In order to win the ears of lawmakers, the media, and academics, they prefer research over rallies and education over activism.

Continue reading at the jump

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Thank you (foot)notes:

Full Disclosure: Your Business Blogger served on the Board of Directors for The Family Foundation, a Family Policy Council in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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27 Oct

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Sandler Sales Technique: Selling Tangible and Intangibles

October 27, 2006 | By | 2 Comments

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No Solicitors Allowed

acquired by Your Business Blogger

ca 1971 Your Business Blogger has always been a peddler. A very lazy peddler, which meant two things:

1) I had to learn shortcuts, and,

2) I was destined for management.

A hundred years ago, I started out selling vacuum cleaners cold-calling door to door.

Cold. Calling. O Joy.

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Sales shoe leather Yes, that law of large numbers worked — wearing out shoe leather knocking on hundreds of doors — but it really wasn’t much fun for me. And not much fun for the home owner either. Around 1986 or so, I sought out the smartest sales guy on the planet who had the same latitude for lazy as me.

I decided to meet with David Sandler, the founder of the Sandler Sales Institute.

After listening to him for a few minutes, I was intrigued by his system and his style, but I wanted to know more. I ventured a timid question.

He looked at me. Then he told me to get out of the room. He wasn’t smiling.

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Charmaine at the highest level of sales —

selling an idea; an intangible He was selling.

He got my attention: I come, willing to sit through his sales pitch and he tells me, me! to get lost. The program was expensive and lightweight nobodies couldn’t afford his sales program.

Those weren’t his exact words. But close.

And, of course, I couldn’t afford it.

And, of course, I had to have it.

Among The Sandler Rules,

When faced with stalls, objections, or put-offs, you must eliminate them or it’s over.

Inspect what you expect.

You can’t lose what you don’t have.

If you wait until the presentation to close the sale, you put too much pressure on the prospect and yourself.

It was the best 850 bucks I ever spent.

I learned to ask stupid questions (which comes quite naturally to me) like,

What does that mean?

Why am I here?

It doesn’t look like you’re interested?

And when all else fails,

Is it over?

That last one is my favorite. When at the end of the sales process and it doesn’t look like the sale is coming and you are about to get thrown out, ask,

Is it over?

In decades a-peddling I’ve only had two prospects say yes, it’s over, now get lost.

(Hint: Guys, don’t be asking this question when you’re dating. You will get many, many yes’s. Not that I’d know.)

Sandler’s Sales System is not for everyone — but it works even for those who don’t like it.

But I try to steer clients to Sandler because my small business owners work too hard. This is an unfortunate trend. The Boss should never work too hard.

The core concept of this sales program is of hyper-sales-qualification. Do not attempt without adult supervision. There is no better skill set to sell tangibles or intangibles. Selling things or ideas, Sandler is best.

I haven’t made a cold-call since.

My prospective clients call me.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

This is an unpaid endorsement for continuing education and the Sandler sales process.

David Sandler died in 1995. And left the world a better place.

The Family Research Council, FRC Action Briefing: Family, Faith and Freedom

September 22, 2006 | By | No Comments

FRC Action, the c4 component of The Family Research Council sponsored a briefing this weekend at the Omni Shoreham in Washington, DC. Your Business Blogger attended with Charmaine and the Penta-Posse.

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Charmaine at the

podium for the

FRCAction Briefing

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The 2,000 attendees at The Briefing

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Radio Row

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La Shawn Barber, Joe Carter and Jared Bridges

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Thank you (foot)notes:

Cross post from Reasoned Audacity.

Be sure to visit La Shawn and get her take on the event.

Tony Perkins, President of the FRC, has an open letter to Barry Lynn

An Open Letter to the Reverend Barry W. Lynn

Dear Reverend Lynn,

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your presence this weekend at our Washington Briefing, Values Voters Summit 2006. I was delighted to see your name as a paid registrant for a number of the activities. As head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, you, of course, disagree with us on a number of issues.

Your support of same-sex marriage and abortion coupled with your opposition to school choice and any public recognition of God would make most people think our differences are vast. However, your willingness to attend our Briefing shows that even you recognize the importance of concerned citizens being involved in public discourse.

While you are here, I recommend you attend our Saturday session, The Role of Churches in Political Issues, moderated by Dr. Kenyn Cureton with speakers Reverend Herb Lusk, Reverend Dr. Richard Land and Reverend Dr. John Guest. I am sure you will find it enlightening as the panelists discuss how to apply the teachings of the Bible to the issues we face today.

It is reported that many Evangelicals do not vote and I’m sure you would agree such citizenly neglect is detrimental to any democracy. That is why we are holding our Briefing and also participating in nonpartisan get-out-the-vote rallies around the nation. Thanks again for being with us.

Photo credits: Your Business Blogger

19 Sep

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4 Comments

The FireDrill: Practice Success to Avoid Failure

September 19, 2006 | By | 4 Comments

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The Diva

and Dancer at the

Air Force Academy Not long ago Your Business Blogger was advising a boss on a product roll out. His team had never done anything quite as large. I suggested a ‘FireDrill.’

It consists of three parts:

1) FireDrill; The plan

2) The Drill, and

3) The Fire

The Plan is a checklist, The Fire is the execution, But The Drill, the practice is the toughest. Because teams need dry runs to learn because things will always, always go wrong. Your team will gain wisdom and judgment through simulation. And learn. Today, permit me to be Your Drill Instructor. And learn how I was surprised by a pilot project.

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The F-14 Tomcat

Your (Army) Business Blogger had no business in the cockpit. My instructor was a Vietnam vet with MigKlr license plates on his truck.

He said the F-14 was a “Man’s Plane.” He sounded sexist. He explained that the old-generation hydraulics required real strength — after a couple of hours, even the manliest studs needed two hands on the stick.

No place for girls.

Or so I thought.

But I was wrong, again.

I bring the Five-kid Penta-Posse to Oceana Naval Air Station to show them how macho military men (like their father) defeated Communism.

We get invited to some F-14 training. I climb in the simulator. No photography is permitted. And a good thing, too.

The instructor guides me through the take- off and some maneuvers. The room spins. The world spins.

And nobody was shooting at me. Although lots of people were yelling at me…

Time to bring the baby home. I turn. Lots more yelling. It might have been me.

The world freezes, the screen freezes. At a funny angle. In Real Life it would have been a $38 million mistake and DNA remains of Your Business Blogger.

My instructor: “Success. You did great!”

Me: ?

My instructor: “The seat is dry.”

Me: ?

My instructor: “No puke, no p!ss.”

Navy humor.

After my showing off, the Posse is not impressed. The Diva, age 6, female, issue-one-each slides into the (dry, thankyouverymuch) front seat sim. Confident. In control. And zooms. Flying circles around anything in the sky.

(I remember her as a little wee-one, who used to throw-up all the time. But not today, even on inverted rolls. Lord, where do the years go? Where did my baby girl go?) Practice is complete.

Perfect landing. “Just like PlayStation,” the Diva says.

I expected a few more years to pass before they passed by the Old Man. She had practiced. I didn’t.

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The Diva

at a static display at

The Franklin Institute.

Entirely too comfortable

in the cockpit During the Drill no one is hurt. And we all process lessons and understand our capabilities.

And learn the limitations of the team.

And the boss. And the Dad.

A FireDrill will bring out the best in your people. And your managers.

Without the crash and burn.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

Women are not permitted in land combat. Unfortunately, little girls (not much older than my Diva) are permitted to fly combat aircraft. The Air Force loses about 75 jets each year in routine accidents. The Navy budgets for the loss of two jets per carrier per deployment. The losses would be much higher, of course, absent intensive training, intensive practice.

What Lily Tomlin Taught Me About Pilot Projects

September 12, 2006 | By | One Comment

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Your (very young) Business Blogger

and Lily Tomlin Big Shows always start small. Lily Tomlin would test her acts, not on an off-Broadway hide-a-way in New York City — not even another country, like say, New Jersey.

No, Lily would test her lines and the script in another world: Branson, Missouri.

A few decades ago, Your Business Blogger — that’s me, the dork on the left — caught up with Tomlin backstage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. During the run of her solo — one woman performance in The Search For Signs Of Intelligent Life In The Universe.

It was no secret that Tomlin is the consumate professional whose presentations seemed effortless. Yes, she and her team practiced with military precision.

But she knew to do a bit more. One of her secrets was to practice in front of a live crowd. To test her timing. For the laughs and special effects. Practice and pace. To hit the marks and watch the sparks.

Her testing would require stops and starts and direct interaction with her Branson audience — which was a test market for her new show; her new product her new production. She would be a wizard alchemist reformulating as she observed and assessed her focus group’s response. And the laughs.

Comedy is hard work.

The challenge of conducting the practice, the dry runs, was that the critical, cynical New Yorker would not sit still through trial run. Tomlin as magician perfected her act behind the curtain, away from the show-bizzie chattering classes. So Lily would go to ‘fly-over country’ where normal people live, to hone her act.

To Branson, Missouri, the Show Me state where over 100 shows play in over 40 theaters. Branson is called “The Live Music Show Capital of the World.”

Lily Tomlin and her crew would then take her perfected, polished performance back to the Big Apple and the rest of civilization.

Her business lesson from show business was to quietly introduce a pilot show, a pilot project. Gauge reaction and launch a high percentage deal. And practice to a small sample size.

Because you will screw it up. And it is best to screw up on the farm team than before the big league crowd.

Do you have a pitch to practice? Find a small group who loves you.

Practice your sales pitch to a live audience. And ask for feedback.

Looking to flog your product on national television, the cables and network? Start with small radio wattage. Then take your show on the road.

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Training Is Never Wasted and The Best Interview Question

September 6, 2006 | By | One Comment

An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest said Ben Franklin. And sometimes learning a skill will pay off in ways unintended and unanticipated.

My favorite interview question is to ask candidates what their high school dream was. What did they want to do, what did they want to be. The best candidates — by that I mean the most contented candidates, have a thread in their lives of what they wanted to do back then and what they are doing today.

An expert interviewer, like Your humble Business Blogger, can discern the contentment and the fire in the belly of the job candidate, by analyzing any gap between high school plans and the current stage in life — I find that the larger this gap, the more unhappy the candidate. Unhappy candidates make for unhappy employees.

Critics of this crazy question accurately say that technology, markets, the world have changed since we were in high school, back in the day. And they are right: the material world changes. Less so people. And what people love to do, and how each individual candidate would like to make a difference.

Here is my favorite example.

She was a competitive swimmer in her youth. And wanted to be a life guard. Her dream job that would make a difference. She trained, studied and was certified.

She found her calling; her vocation but she never found that job.

A disappointed teenager, she took a position as an Assistant Cashier in the athletic center at Camp of the Woods in Adirondack Park of upstate New York in June of 1982. She didn’t get what she wanted, but at least she was near the water.

One afternoon while ringing up a sale, the young girl heard a commotion from the pool behind her across the hall.

A woman was just pulled from the pool. Limp, on her back turning blue. Not breathing. Stunned on-looking bystanders frozen. Inaction.

The teenage girl darted to the woman. Started mouth-to-mouth. The woman moved, struggled, gagged, puked and breathed.

Our teenager never got exactly the job she wanted; that job she trained for.

But her education did pay off. Expecially for one swimmer visiting Adirondack Park.

Training is never wasted.

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Today that teenage girl, now a mature woman, lives out her high school dream making a difference in a big, dramatic vocation before an on-looking crowd of millions. She wanted to make a difference in a unique way. And does so today.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

The management at the resort was concerned that the near death by drowning would cause adverse publicity, I suppose. The life-saving event was never reported. Bad for business, you see. Our young heroine was never thanked.

And she doesn’t want to be thanked now. And really doesn’t want this blogged. (But that’s what husbands do.)

Why John Kerry Lost the Big One & The Big Question For Political Scientists

September 4, 2006 | By | No Comments

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John DiIulio, Ph.D. Looking for answers, Your Business Blogger packed up kith and kin and headed to Philly.

To sit at the feet of John DiIulio, Ph.D., Harvard. Teaching now at the University of Pennsylvania, a former aide to President Bush.

John began by positing the central question for any political scientist visiting the home city of Ben Franklin:

Who has the best Philadelphia cheesesteak?

John was addressing a packed ball room at the American Political Science Association annual meeting this past weekend (yes, Labor Day, every year).

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The Dude & Diva

at APSA The question got a laugh, but I think Professor DiIulio was on to a smaller truth.

After the conference, Charmaine and I loaded up the Suburban and decided to load up with Philly cheesesteaks. And to teach a basic political lesson and business lesson to the Penta Posse. We drove to South Philly to the famous eatery where John Kerry lost the election.

Pat’s King of Steaks open 24 hours. Where we joined the queue snaking around the old joint built in 1930 and not upgraded since. And no one cares.

We avoided the 3 errors John Kerry committed at Pat’s: Parking, Table, Cheese.

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The Dude at Pat’s Error #1) Parking. Pat’s is located on a busy intersection with some five odd parking spaces. We did not find a space. No one does. But when John Kerry came to chow down, his able advance staff staked out a spot for the limo to glid into. The Very Important Presidential candidate got a parking spot.

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John Kerry ties on

the feed bag Error #2) Table. There are about 5 tables for the dozens and dozens of customers. We couldn’t get a table. And no one cares. But the Kerry Advance Team, on that fateful day, nailed down a table. Even the reporters were beginning to wonder. There was no standing around for the Elite. No slopping steak grease in the car, no sitting on the low brick wall next to the basketball courts across the street. Nosiree. The sitting Senator had a seat saved. And didn’t have to wait on no man.

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The WhizError #3) Cheese. The Philadelphia Cheese Steak from Pat’s is ordered, as everyone knows, Wiz Wit. Every one knows but Kerry, that is, who is not Everyman. Translated, this means Chees Whiz With onions, if you please. John Kerry ordered his steak sandwich with Swiss cheese. Swiss. I didn’t know Pat’s would inventory Swiss: Why bother with slow moving sku’s? Even the lapdog liberal reporters snorted. Ordering is simple and fast — making my offer of queue management consulting moot. A business process needing nothing more than processed cheese.

Just like politics.

Even the Penta Posse understood this.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

Charmaine and I talked with John D. after his presentation. He tells us that the best cheesesteak in Philly is from Tony Luke’s. Most Democrats, like John, know cheesesteaks and politics.

This is an unpaid endorsement.

I cite has more on the APSA experience.

Three Duties of a Mentor

August 14, 2006 | By | One Comment

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Jesse Brown A mentor, like a good Board of Directors, offers the CEO (that would be you, the mentee) three talents:

Contacts

Consulting

Capital

Black Belt Productivity reminds us that,

The word “Mentor” originally comes from Homer’s epic The Odyssey. When Odysseus went to fight in the Trojan War, he handed the reigns of his kingdom to Mentor. One of Mentor’s most important duties was to oversee the education of the king’s son, Telemachus.

So what does this education look like in today’s business climate? How can you help your mentor help you?

A seasoned mentor has a fat rolodex (whatever that is) and an extensive list of contacts and links in the good ol’ boy network. A phone call or two and the best mentors can introduce you to anyone, anywhere you need. If an advisor won’t open his data base — he is not a mentor. I’ve dealt with this; the non performing mentor, as you will also someday. Don’t bother to train. Leave.

A wise old man, an experienced guide makes the best teacher. I like my mentors old and gray and grizzled. If your company or personal data-base doesn’t have one of these, go buy yourself one. Warning: They are frightfully expensive, if purchased on the open market. Try exchanging favors in your warm body network. For example, one of my mentors served on the Board of Avis in its early days. His advice was so good, I married his daughter. What a deal. Now I get free consulting.

Access to capital is a necessary trait for a board member — especially a start-up. But a mentor doesn’t necessarily mean money; a direct cash transfer. What a competent mentor does is to guide the mentee on the strategies on how to get bigger bucks: How to earn W-2 $’s. And how to negotiate the office politics to get a bigger budget to advance your agenda within your company.

Your Business Blogger has been blessed with a number on mentors and advisors over the decades; some were paid, most not.

One of my all-time favorite mentors was Jesse Brown.

Jesse Brown, passed away 15 August four years ago. He was my friend and business partner. He was only 58. I dedicated my inaugural post on Labor Day 2005 to honor his memory and his work.

He was wounded by enemy fire in Vietnam leaving his right arm and hand partially paralyzed. This never slowed him down. A Marine who knew how to make a buck.

I once asked him when he was at the pinnacle of his career what drove him to work so hard. Money, I thought; status, celebrity? No. “I just want to help my friends,” he said.

His passion for service helped him become the Veteran’s Affairs Secretary for Bill Clinton.

And yet he helped me, a nobody who worked for a Republican governor.

Jesse is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, not far from my dad. Two warriors to whom I owe so much.

Semper Fidelis

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Thank you (foot)notes:

See Reasoned Audacity for more on the Arlington National Cemetery.

Girls win — Boys lose: Webster Smith, Coast Guard Academy Cadet Convicted

July 29, 2006 | By | One Comment

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The Guardian,

Your Business Blogger

and Charmaine Disney’s soon-to- be-released movie, The Guardian, starring Kevin Costner, tells the Coast Guard’s story. Semper Paratus

The Coast Guard is Always Ready. But sometimes the Coast Guard must make hard choices. The conflict setup of the The Guardian action-movie is:

When a Coast Guard rescuer has to decide between two people in extreme distress, which one does he choose?

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Webster Smith, Center

with parents

AP Photo The Coast Guard has itself been under distress. The service academies have precise rules as a condition of employment and as the price of admission for the free university education. Among them:

Don’t have sex in the dorms.

If you are looking for a Charlotte Simmons campus, go civilian. The feminists and the academies are battling in the courts arguing over the breaking of rules and rape.

In the recent Webster Smith trial the Coast Guard recently had to choose between,

He said, and,

She said

The Coast Guard picked, “She Said.”

Webster Smith was convicted guilty of indecent assault, extortion, sodomy, failure to obey an order and absent without leave. This is the first student court-marshal in the Coast Guard academy’s 130 year history.

The Free Republic says:

With no DNA or forensic evidence in the case, prosecutors relied on the testimony of Smith’s on-again, off-again girlfriend to carry the rape case. (Emphasis mine.)

She testified that she drank two bottles of wine at a party in Annapolis, Md., last summer and couldn’t remember having sex with Smith.

Smith said that she drank far less that night and that the sex was consensual. He was acquitted on charges stemming from her accusations.

Both were a-boozing. She’s now an officer. He gets six months.

Hell hath no fury like a woman women scorned.

All this started with the girls getting mad. And then getting even.

The time line starts with Webster canoodeling with (at least!) four Coast Guard female cadets. This is against the rules for boys and girls alike. Webster should have gotten gigged or gotten demerits or something; So should the girl(s). But no.

About a year ago, the girlfriends began to find out about each other.

Real sexual assault must be addressed. Monsters who rape must be quarentined from civil society. I’m just not sure Webster is such a monster. Webster Smith is a cad(et) to be punished. But it is not clear that he is a rapist.

The story begins:

Webster “rapes” girlfriend #1.

The next night, after the “rape” of #1, #1 girl goes with Smith to a concert, then she spends the night together with Smith in a hotel room.

They exchange affectionate e-mails.

They have dinner.

#1 gets pregnant. Smith and his mother and #1 girlfriend talk about getting married.

They don’t get married.

Webster Smith is brought up on rape charges and all the other lawless canoodeling activity.

At his trial, girlfriend #2 testifies that she and Smith also had sex. A number of times.

The sex with girlfriend #2 took place in her dorm room. She opened the door and let him in. A number of times.

Girlfriend #2 says all this sex was “unwelcomed.” A number of times.

Girlfriend #2 joins Webster in a series of naked photographs; Paris Hilton special. (The Chronicle of Higher Education has the options, I believe.)

Girlfriend #2 is also now a Coast Guard officer. (It is not known if she is posing… for recruitment posters.)

#2 girlfriend gave testimony about oral sex with Smith. #2 said she had to debase herself with lots of sex, and porno-photography because Smith had a “secret” and would tell on her.

The secret would jeopardize her career.

#2 girlfriend sold sex for silence. To keep her “secret” safe.

Smith is befuddled. He knows of no “secret.” He really doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She implies that Smith does know. Or should know.

(Every married man reading this is nodding: has been there, ignored that.)

Somewhere in all this Webster’s baby is aborted.

Smith must register as a sex offender in Texas and will not graduate from the Coast Guard Academy.

The conflict, the lesson of The Guardian, of whom to choose, whom to believe, is simple.

Always rescue the damsel in distress. And,

What “She Said” is always true.

# # #

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Thank you (foot)notes:

Webster’s “rapes” were not as bad as Professor Igor’s 80 “rapes” of a woman. The service academies are looking more like civilian academies all the time.

Full Disclosure: Your Business Blogger has the honor of serving as the Vice President for the Center for Military Readiness.

For an outstanding analysis about the service academy rape cases visit countervailing force.

More at the jump

Mudville Gazette has Open Post.

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