Give money to David Duke and you might just find yourself closing your business. Julius DeRoma owns a bar called Club Jager in Minneapolis. But he was forced to close down after it was revealed he donated to David Duke's 2016 Senate campaign. Outraged to learn their boss had given money to the ex-KKK leader, many employees simply walked off the job. Local DJs and bands also promised to boycott the bar, with one DJ writing on Facebook that he couldn't condone a "venue where the owner supports the likes of David Duke and his messages of hate." Former bartender Drea Kingston said the contribution is "vile and it's disgusting." Jack Callahan, who canceled the trivia night he hosted, says per the Tribune that employees got angry messages calling them Nazi sympathizers. A group of men followed and spit on one worker, calling her a Nazi lover. The bar was empty by mid-week save for a few white supremacists who showed up to support DeRoma, and by Thursday the remaining employees decided to shut it down for good. DeRoma later told reporters his Duke donation was "just basically free speech." He also said the controversy was "blown up beyond what it should be." (Star Tribune)
Now That's a Sewer Snake!
For many, the toilet may be the only private sanctuary left in the house. One would hope it's at least a place where you could sit for a moment in your day - without being bothered by a three-foot snake. Unfortunately, for a small boy in Essex, England, that did not turn out to be the case. When he lifted the lid, he was horrified to see a coiled reptile looking back at him. His mother, Laura Cowell, said, "He was frantic, and shaking, and I could tell something was wrong, but that was not what I expected." She believes it will probably be the start of a lifetime phobia for her son, aged five. She said the toilet had been blocked for a few days, but the family had no idea of the nature of the blockage. She was so scared she put weights on the toilet lid for several days to stop any repeat of the experience, even after the snake was removed. It turns out neighbors had thrown away an old vivarium and it is believed the 3-foot python escaped and got into the sewer system. (Metro)
Pastor Calls 911 - "I Think I Killed My Wife!"
Matthew James Phelps was an aspiring North Carolina pastor - that is until he called 911 and said, "I think I killed my wife." Phelps' version is that he took a large dose - "more than I should have" - of Coricidin Cough and Cold medicine to help him sleep. When he awoke, he found himself covered in blood and his wife, Lauren Hugelmaier, on the floor and not breathing. He told the 911 dispatcher, "I had a dream and then I turned on the lights and she's dead on the floor." When asked how, he replied, "There's blood all over me, and there's a bloody knife on the bed. I think I did it." He then began repeating, "I can't believe I did this! Oh God. She didn't deserve this. Why?" Phelps is now being held without bail at Wake County Detention Center. He and Hugelmaier were married in November 2016. Family and friends are flooding Hugelmaier's Facebook page with photos and memories, with one person describing her as "one of the purest souls one could ever meet." (News and Observer)
Michigan State Being Sued - For Snubbing White Nationalists
Michigan State University is being sued in federal court after white supremacist Richard Spencer was denied a chance to speak on campus. Attorney Kyle Bristow, former president of the MSU chapter of the conservative Young Americans for Freedom group, says the university effectively violated Spencer's First and Fourteenth amendment rights by refusing to rent him a conference room so he could speak about his "alt-right" philosophy. The lawsuit says rejecting Spencer, who heads a group called the "National Policy Institute," because the university considers his beliefs objectionable "constitutes unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination." Cameron Padgett, the Georgia State University student who tried to rent a conference room for Spencer, is seeking a jury trial and damages. MSU said the move was made after consulting with law enforcement officials and said in a statement: "Michigan State University has decided to deny the National Policy Institute's request to rent space on campus to accommodate a speaker. This decision was made due to significant concerns about public safety in the wake of the tragic violence in Charlottesville." (Lansing State Journal)
Cocaine King's Ironic Screw Up Means He's Going to Jail
It seems even the world's worst criminals just want a decent education for their kids. Rocco Morabito was once known as the "Cocaine King of Milan!" But for the last 23 years, the 50-year-old Italian crime boss has been on the run from the law - that is until one stupid little slip up. Authorities in Uruguay say Morabito used his real name to enroll his young daughter in a local public school. That triggered a six-month investigation that ended with his arrest at a hotel in Uruguay. Morabito had apparently been living in the Punta del Este resort area since slipping into the country in 2002 using a fake Brazilian passport with the name Francisco Capeletto. He is expected to be extradited to Italy, where he has a 30-year prison sentence to serve. His wife, an Angolan national, was also arrested. Morabito was a member of the Ndrangheta crime gang, which controls much of the world's cocaine trade. His lawyer says he has been leading a "normal life" since 1994, though a search of his possessions turned up 13 mobile phones, 12 bank cards, a 9mm pistol, $50,000 in cash, and another fake passport. (Guardian)
Coke Would Like to Give You a Million Bucks!
Crowdsourcing and cutting back on sugar are two popular trends these days - so Coca-Cola decided to combine the two in order to improve its bottom line. The soda giant has announced the "Sweetener Challenge," a competition for researchers and scientists to come up with a natural, no- or low-calorie substitute for sugar for its beverages. The winner of the competition, who will be announced in October 2018, will receive $1 million bucks! The company is also conducting a $100,000 "sweet story challenge" to learn from contestants the "tried-and-true methods of naturally sweetening foods or beverages in their cultures, communities, or families." According to Darren Seifer, a food and beverage industry analyst with the NPD Group, "sugar is now the number one item that consumers want to avoid in their diets." (CBS News)
Wisconsin lawmakers will soon consider a bill that would strip repeat drunken drivers of their licenses for at least a decade. The Assembly passed the bill last session but it didn't get a floor vote in the Senate. So how serious is this problem in Wisconsin? Real serious! State Department of Transportation data shows that one-third of the state's drunk-driving convictions in 2015 - the most recent data available - were repeat offenders. Put another way, the 221,576 repeat offenders were more than twice the population of Green Bay. About 52,000 convictions were for a third offense. Nearly 2,800 were for a seventh offense or more. But then what do you expect from a state who calls it's sports team "The Brewers!" Currently Wisconsin's drunken driving laws are relatively lax. It's the only state that treats a first offense as a traffic ticket rather than a criminal transgression. Efforts to toughen drunken driving laws have largely failed amid concerns about increasing court and incarceration costs and pushback from the powerful Tavern League of Wisconsin. (Chicago Tribune)
What the What?
Here's a guy with a serious drinking problem. A New Zealand man got so drunk he apparently forgot he had sold his car contacted police the next day to report it stolen. Our friend sold the vehicle - so he could get cash to purchase more alcohol during his drinking binge, but couldn't remember his actions the next day. He reported it missing to police but then the man who purchased it on car-selling site CarJam came forward. Sergeant Dennis Murphy explained, "Thankfully the man who bought the car checked the registration the next day on the CarJam website as he was worried it might be stolen. The lesson here is don't drink and sell cars." (NZ Herald)