Tag Archives: column

Think you knew sports in 2016? So why is Putin pictured?

The Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years and LeBron James brought an NBA title to long suffering Cleveland. You know that, but how much do you really know about the year in sports? Here’s a quiz to find out:

Who was happiest that the Cubs broke their 108-year drought and won the World Series?

A. Steve Bartman, who can finally show his face in the windy city.

B. Co-workers of Cubs fans, who no longer have to listen to their long suffering tales of woe.

C. Owner Tom Ricketts, who celebrated by raising ticket prices by almost 20 percent.

How did the Russians get the idea to switch doping samples in the Sochi Olympics?

A. Got tired of seeing Norwegians win all the medals.

B. Figured hacking urine bottles was just as easy as hacking emails.

C. Vladimir Putin knew someone in doping control.

Why did Ryan Lochte appear on Dancing with the Stars.

A. Thought a win would get him the respectability his Olympic gold medals didn’t.

B. Heard the show was big in Rio.

C. Knew that dancing around the cameras was easier than dancing around the truth.

What did they do with the golf course built for the Olympics in Rio?

A. Now the home of the swankiest favela in the city.

B. New practice ground for the Brazilian polo team.

C. Home course for the annual Brazil/Ecuador matches.

Why was the NFL so eager to get a team back in Los Angeles?

A . Jack Nicholson needed something to do after finally giving up on the Lakers.

B. Thought the nation’s second largest metropolitan area deserved the NFL’s second worst team.

C. Roger Goodell thought it might help him break into acting.

Why did Peyton Manning retire?

A. Said Omaha so many times he decided to move there.

B. Decided future better served by singing annoying jingles in TV commercials.

C. Knew he would never again be able to throw for 141 yards in a Super Bowl.

Penn State and Michigan were left out of college football playoffs, causing much consternation among their fans. Why?

A. School administrators mistakenly thought graduation rates were the main criteria for deciding who plays.

B. The Magic 8 ball came up “No” when playoff committee members asked about including them.

C. Both schools wanted their students out partying New Year’s Eve instead of watching football games.

Why do Oakland fans secretly want the Raiders to move to Las Vegas?

A. Because the losses that happen there will stay there.

B. They won’t feel out of place walking around Vegas dressed in studded leather and masks.

C. Heard Siegfried and Roy could come up with some magic for the team.

What did Ronda Rousey do after her shocking knockout loss?

A. Threatened to beat up any reporter who asked her a question.

B. Became co-host of the Ellen Show.

What did Tiger Woods bring as an assistant captain to the winning U.S. Ryder Cup team?

A. Excellent cart driving skills.

B. Great tales to tell about the old days when he actually played in the event.

C. His Gulfstream jet to get out of town quickly.

What did Joey “Jaws” Chestnut do after regaining his title by eating 70 hot dogs and buns in the Fourth of July hot dog eating contest?

A. Took a victory lap around Coney Island in the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile.

B. Put some mustard on a hot dog.

C. Quickly excused himself.

Las Vegas got a new hockey team, the city’s first pro franchise. Why did they name it the Vegas Golden Knights instead of the Las Vegas Golden Knights?

A. Afraid city’s image of being full of drunken carousers would offend NHL fans.

B. Didn’t want Canadians to be confused and travel to Las Vegas, New Mexico, to watch their teams play.

C. Actually thought locals called it Vegas.

Why did Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey decide not to play in the Sun Bowl

A. Needed the extra time to bone up for the NFL’s Wonderlic test.

B. Thought team should have been picked for TaxSlayer Bowl instead.

C. Was upset that player’s gift bag didn’t include the souvenir game ball given out by the Dollar General Bowl.

Ask Brianna: Do I really need a budget in my 20s?

Q: I’ve heard I’m supposed to create and stick to a budget, but that seems complicated and time-consuming. Do I really need a budget in my 20s?

A: It is, unequivocally, a good idea to have a plan for how you spend your money. With a budget, you won’t spend your whole paycheck — after you’ve paid rent and bills — on dinners out and Amazon impulse buys. You’ll be more likely to set money aside for future needs, like retirement and emergencies.

Some swear by a certain budgeting app or a painstakingly color-coded Google Sheet. But budgeting doesn’t have to mean tracking every expense and cutting out the little things that make you happy. Even financial advisers understand that can be restrictive and hard to maintain.

“I always equate the word ‘budget’ to ‘diet,” says Mindy Crary, a financial coach at Creative Money in Seattle, Washington.

Instead, think about budgeting as a way to set goals for the things you want to do in the future, a way to put your money to work. One approach: Get a handle on the expenses you can’t avoid; come up with a dollar amount you want to save every month; then spend the rest as you please. Here’s what that looks like in three easy steps.



“When thinking about budgets, people usually default to thinking about how to cut their everyday consumption,” says Hui-chin Chen, a financial planner and co-owner of Pavlov Financial Planning in Arlington, Virginia.

But buying a cup of coffee every day will not bankrupt you. Living in an apartment, driving a car or making a student loan payment you can’t afford is more problematic.

Some expenses are easier to trim than others. Federal student loans come with income-driven repayment plans that will let you pay a certain percentage of your income each month to keep your bill affordable. Stick with roommates, and hold off on moving into a luxury apartment building if that would increase your housing costs to 30 percent or more of your income.



You don’t have to account for every penny you shell out. Another way to make sure you don’t overspend is to come up with a savings goal first, then back your way into a budget that allows you to hit that goal, Crary says.

Some of your savings should go to an emergency fund until you’ve got at least $500 put away for unexpected expenses, such as medical costs or car repairs. Some must go toward retirement; contribute at least enough to meet the employer match on your 401(k), if one is offered, or start to beef up your IRA. The rest can go to a savings account that you’ll use to hit other goals like travel or a down payment on a house. The amount you have left over is often called “disposable income,” or what you can spend on nonessential expenses, like shopping and entertainment.

“As a starting point, if you have never really thought about it, setting up an automatic deduction from checking into savings is a good way to test out your budget and lifestyle,” Chen says.



If you can’t save any money, it may be that you simply can’t live on the amount you earn. Consider adding to your income by hitting the LinkedIn circuit in search of a higher-paying job, or look into temporary side gigs in the meantime.

You can also take a look at last month’s bank or credit card statements and consider making changes if there’s a particular area of spending that is really out of whack. The changes can be behavioral rather than based on dollar amounts, Crary says: If you went out to eat 15 times, try to go out seven times next month instead.

No month of spending will be exactly the same. You can’t always plan ahead for a friend’s birthday brunch or a stolen bicycle tire. Focus on maintaining balance instead. Aim to take the stress out of budgeting, and you might find you like knowing where your money goes after all.


This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Brianna McGurran is a staff writer at NerdWallet. Email: bmcgurran(at)nerdwallet.com. Twitter: (at)briannamcscribe.


On the Web

NerdWallet: Find the best student loan repayment plan for you


Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Money goals worksheet



It’s Summer — Read a Book!

Here are some summer reading recommendations, light and dark.

The Bloody Chamber is a hair-raising and irreverent take on traditional fairy tales. Angela Carter gives a modern twist to 10 old tales, including “Bluebeard,” “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Beauty and the Beast.” The stories are written in vivid prose that brings them to life. They read like cliff-hangers.

Carter’s writing has a bold, sexually suggestive edge that makes explicit the sexual subtext of the originals. The Bloody Chamber is a pulse-racing revision of the Bluebeard legend. “Puss in Boots” had me laughing out loud at the bravado of the randy old cat.

The Making of the Wizard of Oz by Aljean Harmetz covers all aspects of the making of the classic 1939 MGM film. It’s a must-read for fans.

The first chapter, “The Studio,” lays out the setting of MGM and its place as the premiere Hollywood studio in the 1930s. Subsequent chapters focus on the writers, music composers, directors, actors, Munchkins, costumes, special effects and the smart little Cairn terrier who played Toto, too.

It has a delightful introduction by “Wicked Witch” actress Margaret Hamilton and an appendix with background on L. Frank Baum, author of the bestselling Oz books, who was pretty much a failure at everything else he did.

MGM did not break even financially until the movie was sold to TV networks for repeated airings in the 1950s–80s. It was because of those broadcasts, which drew millions of viewers, that The Wizard of Oz became such a huge cultural phenomenon.

As a World War II buff, I found many fascinating stories in The Bitter Road to Freedom by William Hitchcock. Although Hitchcock views the liberation of Europe as a heroic endeavor overall, this book focuses on the costs of that liberation.

His chapters on Normandy and Belgium reveal that thousands of already traumatized civilians were killed and terrorized by allied bombs aimed at cleaning out the Germans. From the first day Allied troops landed at Normandy, a brisk black-market in goods thrived among the armed forces and the long-deprived citizenry.

Most of Holland was bypassed in the allies’ rush through France and Belgium into Germany, so the Nazis retained control until May 1945. During those many months when liberation was so close at hand, the Nazis systematically starved the people and decimated the Dutch resistance.

There is an excellent chapter on tensions between the military bureaucracy and relief and refugee agencies, which were sometimes at cross-purposes. Another focuses on the suffering of Russia and the terrible revenge the Red Army wreaked on the Germans and their allies, including mass rapes of German women.

The Bitter Road to Freedom chronicles the devastation of war and the costs of liberation.


WiGWag: The one about the Bernie Sanders doll

Bernie baby: A Washington state woman made national headlines in June when she showed up at the state’s Democratic convention with a life-sized crocheted Bernie Sanders doll — or at least the top half of the presidential candidate. Well, it turns out making DIY Bernie Sanders crafts is a thing. Crocheted Sanders dolls populate Etsy, as do Sanders paper dolls, clay figurines, action figures and a bouncy Bernie for the dashboard. We also came across a Donald Trump voodoo doll and a Hillary Clinton prayer candle.

Six years missing: U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s campaign commercials have a glaring omission: They don’t mention he’s served in the Senate since 2011. Critics say that’s because he (a) has nothing to show for it and (b) doesn’t want voters examining his record. Of course, in this election cycle, it’s probably wise for an incumbent to try positioning himself as an outsider. What’s dumb is thinking he can get away with it.

Bumped over  ‘best butt’: At least one manager is out on his can at Scotty’s Brewhouse in Southport, Indiana. He was fired over an “unsanctioned and unapproved” staff awards contest that recognized one employee with a “best butt” prize. The winner was asked to turn around for co-workers who wanted snapshots of the appreciated derriere. Other employees were recognized for being the “best bartender” and “best server.”

Summer Loon: The wife of Maine Gov. Paul LePage is working a summer waitressing job. Her husband, considered the nation’s looniest governor as well as its lowest paid, told a town hall meeting his wife needed the job to supplement his $70,000 salary. But maybe she just wanted time away from him. Among other stunts, LePage has threatened to veto his own bills, compared the IRS to the Holocaust and told the NAACP to “kiss my ass” after its leaders complained about his refusal to attend a Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast.

Off the money: Iowa GOP Rep. Steve King has filed legislation to block the U.S. Treasury Department’s plan to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. He says it would be “racist” and “sexist” to replace white slave-owner Andrew Jackson’s image with that of the African-American woman who risked her life conducting slaves to freedom.

Too good to be true?: A phony story about President Barack Obama signing executive orders restricting gun sales and gun ownership resurfaced and went viral on Facebook and Twitter in the days after the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Liberals cheered as they shared the false news report that the president was putting a 30-day moratorium on gun sales and conservatives raged as they shared the bogus bulletin that the president was limiting Americans to just three guns each.

Incompatible software: Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook, who is gay, hosted a fundraiser for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who is not only openly anti-LGBT and an advocate of regressive economic policies, but also a backer of racist Donald Trump. The June 28 event followed Apple’s corporate decision to pull funding and tech support from the Republican National Convention. Facebook, Google and Microsoft have said they will provide some support to the convention.

Feeling the love?: Franklin Graham, the son of the Rev. Billy Graham, held a prayer gathering at the Wisconsin Capitol in mid-June. About 4,000 people attended the event, part of Graham’s Decision America tour to motivate Christians to get involved in politics. At the Madison gathering, the minister led a prayer for the victims of the massacre at the Pulse nightclub. Later, he told the press he loves gays but homosexuality is a sin and LGBT people must repent.

Not a girl’s best friend: On the BBC’s The Graham Norton Show, Charlie Sheen told a story about being given diamond cufflinks by Donald Trump a few years ago — right off the Donald’s own wrist and engraved with his name. A few months later Sheen took the “diamonds” to an appraiser who said, “In their finest moment this is cheap pewter and bad zirconias.” Sheen shouldn’t take it personally. The New York Post reported that Donald Trump has been giving fake diamond jewelry as gifts for years.

He who lives  by the sword …: The owner of a gun shop in Amelia, Ohio, died of a gunshot wound to the neck. He was struck by a bullet from an accidentally discharged weapon during a concealed-carry seminar sponsored by his store.

Ruling restores access to accident report data

A Wisconsin court of appeals ruling put to rest some of the questions over what information must be withheld under the federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act. Its recent decision ends years of confusion in a way that squares with the state’s traditions of openness — and with common sense.

The DPPA was enacted more than two decades ago to restrict the release of personal information from DMV records. It was never meant to prevent police from releasing basic information in accident reports and other law-enforcement records.

But that was how the law was interpreted in much of Wisconsin. In recent years, following a federal court ruling in an Illinois case, concerns over liability have led some law enforcement agencies to heavily redact (blackout) reports before releasing them—limiting their news value and hampering public oversight of police.

In its May 10 decision, Wisconsin’s 3rd District Court of Appeals held that accident reports need not be redacted to comply with the DPPA, because state law expressly mandates their disclosure. Personal information obtained from other sources and merely verified with DMV records may also be released.

I was one of the attorneys, along with Bob Dreps, who represented a newspaper that filed the lawsuit that led to this ruling. The case was brought by the New Richmond News against the city of New Richmond.

Congress passed the DPPA in 1994 after a television actress was murdered by a stalker who obtained her home address from a local DMV. The law’s intent is clear: DMVs, with their vast repositories of personal information, cannot disclose that data except for one of 14 “permissible uses.” The same restrictions apply to other agencies that use DMV data.

But then, in 2012, the village of Palatine, Illinois, was threatened with liability for printing vehicle owners’ personal information — obtained from DMV records — on parking tickets placed on car windshields. The Palatine case caused some police departments in Wisconsin to start redacting records, prompting the New Richmond News to file suit.

In the end, reason won out in Palatine. The courts ultimately ruled that disclosing personal information on parking tickets was allowed because the police department used the information in carrying out its functions — one of the 14 “permissible uses.”

Reason should also win out in Wisconsin, although this may not happen right away. Whereas the court of appeals ruled accident reports must always be accessible, it also concluded that personal information obtained from DMV records and incorporated into incident reports can only be disclosed if doing so serves a function of the police department — a question the case was remanded to the circuit court to resolve.

The public has a legitimate right to law enforcement records, which are of little value if scrubbed of names and addresses. How can the public know if laws are enforced equally and appropriately if the identities of the people involved are obscured?

Ideally, the common-sense approach adopted by the court of appeals will serve as a blueprint for addressing the questions that remain—without further litigation.

This is a monthly column distributed by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council — (www.wisfoic.org — a nonprofit group dedicated to open government. Dustin Brown is an attorney at Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.

WiGWAG: Cry me a river, you say?

Cry me a river, you say? Natural science students at the University of Leicester, England, set out to determine the plausibility of the world’s population crying enough tears to create a river — based on the flow rate of the world’s shortest river. Montana’s Roe River is 201 feet long and discharges about 709,190,040 liters of water per day. The average human tear is about 6.2 micro liters and even if everyone on Earth was sobbing, there’d be no river. However, the students calculated, if everyone cried 55 tears they could fill an Olympic-sized pool.

Koch brothers pull false ad: The Koch brothers’ Freedom Partners Action Fund decided to nix a $2 million attack on Russ Feingold after three Wisconsin TV stations refused to air it. Why? The attack was an utter fabrication. In fact, it is Sen. Ron Johnson, the Koch brothers’ candidate, who is guilty of the charge Feingold is accused of in the commercial.

That’s not my name. A Muslim high school student in California says she’s identified as “Isis Phillips” in the yearbook recently issued at Osos High School in California. Bayan Zehlif says school administration informed her the ID under her class photo was a “typo.” That “typo” halted distribution of the yearbook until the name could be corrected.

Bravo, bravo. Carmina Beerana, the latest specialty beer from Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids, Michigan, toasts Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” a classical piece inspired by monks. The beer is part of the brewery’s collaboration with the Grand Rapids Symphony. The beer has a bold fruit flavor, a clean and bitter finish and some Belgian character.

Better than hemorrhoids. Rachel Maddow recently published data that identified things that fare worse in polls than presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. The list included: lice, traffic jams, used car salesmen, root canals, jury duty, hipsters and the DMV. “To be fair,” Maddow pointed out, “Trump is losing in single digits to some of these.” Trump also can take heart from the fact he polled better than hemorrhoids.

Trump 101. Students at Georgia’s Savannah State University can enroll this summer in a three-credit course on “The Trump Factor in American Politics.” They will study Trump’s biography, read excerpts from his bestseller, The Art of the Deal, dissect some of his more controversial proposals and delve into how Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee. Savannah State is a historically black campus of about 4,900 students.

Civics lesson. An 18-year-old who toured an Ohio high school while posing as a state senator has been sentenced to three months in jail for impersonating a peace officer. Authorities say the young man spoke to a government class in Sycamore, Ohio, in December 2015. School officials didn’t realize they hadn’t hosted a senator until weeks later.

Culprit was a rat. A tip from the public led the FBI to arrest a man who’d allegedly been putting a mouse poison on food at a Michigan Whole Foods and other stores over a two-week period. “Our joint investigation leads us to believe that this individual sprayed a liquid mixture of hand sanitizer, water, and Tomcat mice poison on produce,” an FBI special agent told the Detroit News. No explanation was offered.

Letting it out. Transgender actress and activist Shakina Nayfack isn’t just speaking out against North Carolina’s “bathroom bill.” She’s peeing out. As she takes her solo act around the state this summer, she’ll take selfies of herself squatting to take a whiz in men’s urinals and post them on social media.

Baring it. Photographer Spencer Tunick is looking for 100 women to pose nude for a photo shoot on July 17 at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. For the shoot, titled “Everything She Says Means Everything,” 100 naked women will hold up large mirror discs that reflect “the knowledge and wisdom of progressive women and the concept of Mother Nature,” according to Tunick’s website.

Your right to know: State should support student expression

Two years ago, the Fond du Lac School District unveiled new guidelines requiring administrative review and approval before the publication of any student media. The reaction by students was swift, democratic and effective.

Within days, they had publicized the change online, presented their case at a school board meeting, appeared on local media and gathered several thousand signatures on a petition calling for student publications to be returned to the students. Over the next several months, they highlighted the district’s use of these guidelines to block the publication of particular photos and information.

These efforts succeeded. The district agreed to convene a group of student journalists and educators to craft a new policy. By the next school year, the restrictive guidelines were gone.

The passion for the free flow of information and constitutional rights displayed by these students stands as a prime example of the power of a journalism education based on student responsibility and ownership. But efforts to stifle student speech remain.

Recently, a principal in Chicago censored a story about the school’s new starting time, at one point threatening to kill the publication entirely. Student journalists in Missouri were told they must submit a story about their superintendent’s resignation to the principal for editing. A student journalist in West Bend, Wisconsin, reports being barred from writing about certain topics.

And in many schools, the looming possibility of administrative overreach leads students to censor themselves, back down when challenged, or abandon student publications entirely.

This should not be happening. While schools must maintain an effective learning atmosphere, they do not have the right to suppress information they simply do not like. Court cases have made clear that students maintain their First Amendment rights of free speech at school.

Unfortunately, a 1988 U.S. Supreme Court ruling (Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier) established that schools could review and possibly restrain speech if related to legitimate educational purposes. Many school districts have over-applied this highly subjective standard.

Once a principal is allowed to pre-approve student journalism, it is inevitable that he or she will find things to change to make the expression more “positive” or more aligned with what the principal wants to say. This does not teach journalism or citizenship. It teaches that authority figures — government officials, in the case of public schools — decide what ideas can be discussed.

Since Hazelwood, eight states have passed laws clearly establishing that student publications belong to students, who are themselves responsible for deciding what to publish. North Dakota passed one such law unanimously last year, and more than 20 other states are looking to join them.

These bills, termed New Voices laws, do nothing to limit a school’s ability to prohibit illegal or harmful speech. But they do let students perfect the power of their own voices and explore the benefits of the free flow of information in a democracy.

Students in Wisconsin deserve a New Voices law of their own. The effort to do so here, known as Supporting New Voices of Wisconsin, has been getting media attention and editorial support.

In the next legislative session, we hope state lawmakers will help ensure that the rights of student journalists are clear and that schools are using student publications for student learning, rather than to promote the agenda of government officials.

Your Right to Know is a monthly column distributed by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council (www.wisfoic.org), a nonprofit group dedicated to open government. Matthew Smith, a teacher at Fond du Lac High School, is a coordinator for New Voices of Wisconsin.

WiGWag: The one about Walker’s T-shirts, Trump’s flags, Clinton’s Cutlass

Clinton’s Cutlass: A retired White House gardener put Hillary Clinton’s 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass — with a “Clinton for Governor” sticker on the back windshield and Arkansas plates — up for sale. Mike Lawn bought the car at an auction for White House workers in 2000 to give to his daughter. But he’s kept it parked in a garage because she refused to drive what she said “looked like an old lady’s car.”

Taking a whack: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker came up way short on support in his presidential bid, but we all know he isn’t lacking in the ego department. Earlier this spring he compared himself to Packer’s quarterback Aaron Rodgers, perhaps the most popular guy in the state, and also to Green Bay great Brett Favre. The governor said Donald Trump’s attack on his record was like “taking a whack” at Rodgers or Favre.

Frame this: Speaking of our governor, Walker is offering T-shirts from his short-lived presidential campaign in exchange for $45 to help pay off the campaign’s lingering $1.2 million debt. Walker can’t guarantee colors and sizes, but he said people who receive unwearable shirts could frame them or use them for “craft projects,” such as making decorative pillows or bags.

Fly the deadly skies: First Air France flight attendants didn’t want to fly to Iran because they didn’t want to wear veils when getting off the plane. Now a gay steward with the airline has launched an online appeal against gay cabin members having to travel to Iran. One of them started an online petition titled: “Gay stewards from Air France don’t want to fly to the death penalty in Iran.”

Wobbling away: NASA scientists say global warming is shifting the way the Earth wobbles on its polar axis. Melting ice sheets are changing the distribution of weight on the planet, causing Earth’s wobble to pull toward the east. Yes, we realize this isn’t funny.

Hello, Sweden speaking: Sweden has created a phone number for the entire country. Call and you’ll hear the message, “You will soon be connected to a random Swede somewhere in Sweden.” And you will. Callers can talk to Swedes about anything within reason — from IKEA to Abba. The Swedish Tourist Association created the project to increase interest in the country.

Quite a bite: A Florida woman saved half of a grilled cheese sandwich for 10 years because, she says, it bears the imprint of the Virgin Mary. This year, she posted a picture of the perfectly preserved sandwich, missing only one bite, on eBay, where it sold for $28,000. The sale was announced on April 12, which was National Grilled Cheese Day. The buyer, who is the CEO of the online casino GoldenPalace.com, said he planned to use the sandwich to raise money for charity. “It’s a part of pop culture that’s immediately and widely recognizable,” his spokesman told The Miami Herald. “We knew right away we wanted to have it.”

Fined for flags: A man in West Long Branch, New Jersey, called police to complain about vandalism of his “Trump Make America Great Again” flags. Police responded and ticketed the man for violating an ordinance that says political signs can’t be displayed until 30 days before an election. New Jersey’s primary takes place June 7.

Naughty North Carolina: After North Carolina Republicans rushed to enact anti-LGBT legislation, many in the entertainment industry decided to boycott the Southern state. Most notably, Bruce Springsteen canceled a concert on April 10. Less notably, but not without consequence, the porn site XHamster.com decided to block users with North Carolina IP addresses from its steamy streaming services. XHamster spokesman Mike Kulich said judging by North Carolina sign-on stats, the punishment is severe.

Thanks for the help: A white nationalist super PAC tried boosting Donald Trump ahead of Wisconsin’s GOP primary by making robo-calls to prospective voters. The call from the American National super PAC promised that Trump would put “America first.” He finished last in the primary.

The name is sucker: The creator of a bogus pro-Bernie Sanders super PAC collected nearly $50,000 from James Bond star Daniel Craig. Last year, Sanders’ campaign twice sent Cary Lee Peterson “cease and desist” letters, but they went ignored until Hollywood got stung. Now Peterson is in federal custody.

Sugar shock: A man arrested for stealing $31 worth of candy bars in New Orleans is being prosecuted for a felony because of prior multiple “theft of goods” convictions. If convicted of stealing candy, he could be sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.


WiGWAG: The one about mad egg hunts, Trump’s tombstone and more

WiGWAG: news with a twist.…

Safe house

Are you a political operative attending the Republican National Convention in July? Nowhere to stay? Well, the childhood home of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, located in the town of Bath, just 26 miles south of Cleveland, is available for $10,000 a month this summer. Relax in safety at this rustic retreat, where Dahmer killed his first victim, while the GOP’s heavily armed power brokers shoot it out for the nomination.

Not resting in peace

A fake tombstone for Donald Trump was placed in New York’s Central Park in late March. The marker contained Trump’s birth year, 1946, and an epitaph, “Made America Hate Again.”

Don’t they have killers to catch?

Police in Concord, North Carolina, recently slapped handcuffs on a man who failed to return a VHS rental more than 14 years ago. Even the movie’s star, Tom Green, came to the man’s defense, acknowledging that his 2001 flop Freddy God Fingered was not worth one star, let alone two handcuffs. The scofflaw was driving his daughter to school when he was stopped for his heinous crime.

Passionate play by play

Mixed reactions followed TBS announcer Kevin Harlan’s excited declaration during the NCAA tournament: “Jim Boeheim and Syracuse have done it! Back from the dead on Easter Sunday! They’re going to the Final Four.” Demands for an apology poured in, along with countless zombie Jesus memes, endless debate on talk radio and, yes, some giggles.

Speaking of March madness

A call about “multiple irate parents” at an Easter egg hunt brought out law enforcement in Proctor, Vermont. Police resorted to pepper spray and made an arrest after tempers flared when some people broke through ropes and began collecting eggs before the overbooked Easter event began. The event organizer said refunds were offered.

Ryan’s selfless sacrifice

House Speaker Paul Ryan was met with smirks when he released a video about what he sacrificed for Lent. Instead of foregoing one of the traditional luxuries for 40 days as a form of penitence — steak, seaweed wraps, Internet porn — Ryan vowed to relinquish anxiety. We think he missed the spirit of the exercise.

Manhandled in Jupiter

Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is facing a charge of misdemeanor battery in Jupiter, Florida, where he allegedly grabbed a female reporter who was attempting to interview his boss. Lewandowski and Trump deny the allegation despite video evidence. Lewandowski is represented by Kendall Coffee, a former U.S. Attorney who lost that job after biting a stripper.

Blown away by latest Bubba craze

In the rural South, the latest craze is to pack objects full of the explosive Tannerite and then shoot at them. Critical to full enjoyment of this experience is remaining a safe distance from the object under assault. But one Georgia man overlooked that part of the plan. After packing a lawnmower with 3 pounds of the material, he fired 20 shots at close range from a semi-automatic rifle. “I blew my leg off,” he can be heard hollering in the video recording of the event. At least he got that part right.

We don’t really get this

Activists had a portable toilet delivered to the North Carolina Capitol in Raleigh after right-wing Gov. Pat McCrory signed legislation forbidding transgender people from using public bathrooms that correspond with their gender identities.

What could go wrong, Part 12

A Minnesota company has created a handgun designed to look like a smartphone. “Smartphones are everywhere,” the company’s website says, “so your new pistol will easily blend in with today’s environment. In its locked position it will be virtually undetectable because it hides in plain sight.”

Party on the highway

A truck carrying a cargo of Busch beer and a truck hauling Frito Lay chips collided on Interstate 95 near Melbourne, Florida, and it wasn’t a happy hour for morning commuters. Traffic backed up for miles after state troopers closed the highway to clear spilled chips and beer. OK, some of you would have preferred wine and cheese?

Just say no, Part 827,213

A health-conscious drug user was arrested after responding to a police social media post warning that her meth might be contaminated with the Ebola virus. Police near Austin, Texas, developed the ruse to catch drug users. But apparently only one unfortunate user was tweaked out enough to take her meth to the station for Ebola testing.

Find more WiGWAG at www.wisconsingazette.com.

Award season is not over…

This year’s Oscar Award hubbub is over but it’s never too late to bestow honors on the deserving and undeserving in all facets of American life.

Leonardo DeCaprio was touted for the bold environmental statement he delivered during his Oscar acceptance speech. The respected actor deserves the “Clueless He-Man” Award for gushing repeatedly about his film The Revenant that “This is the kind of movie we should be making!” Sure Leo, Hollywood does not make nearly enough male revenge epics.

For its decision to pursue a $150 million tax-avoiding corporate inversion with Tyco International, Johnson Controls wins this year’s “Corporate Parasite” Award.

Among the “talking points” issued to defend the merger, Johnson Controls said that it and Tyco have “successful and robust” contracts with the U.S. government. In other words, they’re bullish about reeling in the government largesse as long as they don’t have to pay their share. That’s supposed to make it OK?

The “Take That, Scott Walker” Award goes to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for being elevated to the status of a research university by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. UW-Milwaukee now joins the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the ranks of the 115 best research institutions in the country.

Congratulations to the researchers and professors at UWM whose dedicated work in the arts and sciences advances our civilization. And let’s give a big raspberry to Walker and other Republican dullards for attacking tenure and cutting UW System budgets.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. gets the “Raging Impotency” Award for the hateful comments he spews, usually while pandering to right-wing audiences on Fox News. Among the contributions of this “peace” officer: calling Black Lives Matter activists “sub-human creeps” and denying police brutality exists.

Clarke reminds me of self-hating homosexuals who preach hell fire and damnation for gay people. His towering ego is in conflict with his inadequacy. In the scheme of things, Milwaukee County sheriff is not a very powerful position. The big cowboy hats don’t fool anyone.

A special Merit Badge goes to Chris Rock, host of the Oscar telecast, for promoting the Girl Scouts and their cookies. A companion “Shut the Front Door” Award goes to the archbishop of St. Louis who, days before the Oscars, declared that the Girl Scouts were exhibiting “troubling behavior … incompatible with our Catholic values.”

The “troubling behavior” apparently includes: having fun, empowering girls, and being open-minded and inclusive of different people. Support the Girl Scouts: Make the patriarchy quake.

The “Goodbye, Already” Award goes to late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia who left a legacy of division through his mean-spirited decisions and dissents.

Scalia openly demeaned African Americans, gay people and immigrants and frequently denigrated the thinking of his fellow justices. He refused to compromise or reach consensus with them. He is not someone to emulate or admire and he hardly ranks with the giants of American jurisprudence. Goodbye, already.

The “Soldiering On” Award goes to the staff and volunteers of Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin and nationwide. GOP funding cuts, smear tactics and daily threats of violence do not keep these brave women and men from providing the professional, non-judgmental reproductive health care that millions of Americans need. Thank them by making a tax-deductible contribution to Planned Parenthood today.