- Hector Acuña
Well, we're glad to get that over with!
2016 is nearly over and you'll find plenty of lists of the so-called Top Stories of the Year. We, on the other hand, have spent the year reading the newspapers, browsing the online sites and watching the TV news to collect what can only be described as the Bottom Stories of the Year—a collection of the dimwits, the dunces and the ne'er-do-wells who helped make the year sadly unforgettable.
AUNT BEE CAN BARELY LIFT HER PURSE NOW
Ann Weaver Hart, pitifully underpaid as UA's president (she only makes $650,000), cashed in by accepting a position on the board of for-profit DeVry University, which is defending itself against Federal Trade Commission allegations of deceiving students. Hart's moonlighting pays her an additional $70,000 a year and $100,000 in stocks.
MI FAMILIA LOCO
Manuel Padilla, the former chief of Border Patrol's Tucson Sector, got red-faced when Texas media published stories about his drug-smuggler brother, Miguel-Angel. The latter's arrests include one in 2013 when he attempted to smuggle 84 pounds of dope past BP's checkpoint near Amado, between Tucson and Nogales.
Manuel was the Tucson's Sector chief at that time. He's now chief of the Rio Grande Valley Sector and says he hasn't seen or heard from his brother in years.
PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER TWO
Jonathan Lowe, a reporter for KPHO-TV in Phoenix, was covering a story outside a home in Goodyear when he suddenly had to go potty real bad. He dropped his britches and squatted on his heels, prompting a horrified neighbor to call police. The cops cited him for public defecation, according to the Phoenix New Times.
I AIN'T SAYIN' YOU TREATED ME UNKIND
YOU COULD HAVE DONE BETTER BUT I DON'T MIND
YOU JUST KINDA WASTED MY PRECIOUS TIME
BUT DON'T THINK TWICE, IT'S ALL RIGHT
—From Bob Dylan's Don't Think Twice It's All Right
The world awoke to the shocking news that the fuzzy-headed yet incomprehensible hippie-mumbler Bob Dylan had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. The Hibbing, Minn. native has a long habit of cribbing lines from others. In 2012, Dylan himself told Rolling Stone: "In folk and jazz, quotation is a rich and enriching tradition... It has to do with melody and rhythm, and then after that, anything goes. You make everything yours. We all do it."
Even the Swedish Academy, the group that bestowed the award, didn't think twice. Sara Danius, the Academy's permanent secretary, called Dylan "a wonderful sampler."
WHEN COMEDIANS ATTACK
Actress Amber Heard sued Bisbee comedian Doug Stanhope for defamation after he wrote an explosive article for The Wrap defending his friend, movie star Johnny Depp and trashing Heard. Heard had made allegations of spousal abuse against Depp.
Stanhope wrote: "Today, a friend of mine was pilloried in the press for domestic violence. Coupled with a picture of his wife with a bruise, he was murdered on social media. I watched it happen and I didn't say a f----ing word. Even though I knew it was bullshit."
Heard later withdrew her complaint against Stanhope. She and Depp issued a statement saying neither party made false accusations for money, and there was never any intent of physical or emotional harm.
THE JOY OF BEING FRANK
Former Republican state lawmaker and Army Special Forces soldier Frank Antenori pleaded guilty to illegally accessing an area of Fort Huachuca to bow hunt. He said the charge was payback for an earlier confrontation he'd had with environmentalists on the post. Fined $489, the balding blusterer reportedly said that "some biologist on the fort loves little bears and doesn't want anyone hunting bears on Fort Huachuca."
MR. CHAPO, MEET MR. JOHNSON
A Mexican newspaper reported that during his time as a fugitive, Sinloa Cartel drug lord Chapo Guzman came down from the mountains to undergo erectile dysfunction surgery in Tijuana. He allegedly got a testicular implant and a prosthetic.
FORMULA OR CRIME
Former KOLD-TV crime reporter Som Lisaius and his wife pleaded guilty to child endangerment after the couple's 4-month-old daughter wouldn't wake up and had to be rushed to the hospital because Krystin Lisaius breast-fed her after using cocaine. Detectives reportedly found 1.8 grams of coke in the couples' home and white residue on Krystin's Safeway Club card.
BARNEY FIFE IN HIGH HEELS
Someone photographed TPD officer Faith Schrouder responding to a call without a magazine in her holstered gun, against department regulations. The image, which was posted on a Facebook page for cops, drew hundreds of comments from humorous to concerned for public safety about the wisdom of an unarmed cop.
SHE'S A REAL PITHA
The reelection campaign of Sen. John McCain fired political fundraiser Emily Pitha after cops allegedly found drugs in her home reminiscent of the huge stash writer Hunter Thompson carried in his car in the book, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Media outlets reported that Maricopa County detectives allegedly found a quarter pound of meth, a possible meth lab, several grams of heroin, several hundred ecstasy pills, several grams of crystallized MDMA, marijuana, approximately two grams of cocaine, 10 hits of LSD, shatter, hash oil and approximate $7000 in cash.
On her LinkedIn profile, Pitha said she had previously worked for Arizona Republican Senators Jeff Flake and Jon Kyl.
Pitha was sentenced to two years' probation.
KELI WARD'S A PITHA, TOO
In an interview with NBC's Meet the Press, Kelli Ward, John McCain's senate challenger in the Republican primary, basically called McCain a tired old coot who couldn't stay awake long enough to be an effective senator.
Todd: "So you think he's too old to serve in the senate?"
Ward: "Well, I'm a physician. I see the physiological changes that happen and normal aging in patients again and again and again in the last 20 years. So I do know what happens to the body and the mind."
Todd: "So you feel comfortable diagnosing him on air like this?"
Ward: "Diagnosing him as an 80-year-old man? Yes, I do."
TIP FOR WANNA-BE TERRORISTS: NEVER TELL AN FBI AGENT TO START BUILDING HOMEMADE GRENADES
Authorities arrested former Catalina Foothills High School student Mahin Khan on terrorism related charges in July. Prosecutors allege that in addition to planning to attack a Jewish community center in Tucson, the 18-year-old wanted to inspire an insurgency in this country with attacks similar to those in Paris and Brussels.
They also charge that he had exchanges online with a member of the Islamic state. His family claims he has the mental capacity of a 13-year-old and posed no real threat.
HUMAN FENCE ART
Three men who refused a demand by smugglers to carry drugs into the U.S. were "tied up like piñatas" to the border fence west of Nogales. The smugglers used clothing and blankets to strap the men to the fence, in full view of Border Patrol cameras. Cartel goons often force illegals to carry drug loads and the consequences for refusing are sometimes far worse.
QUOTE NOBODY NOTICED
In an interview with Esquire magazine, the celebrated author Jim Harrison, who lived part of the year in Patagonia, said of Donald Trump: "I wish somebody would shoot him." Harrison died in March.
QUOTE NOBODY NOTICED PART TWO
Speaking of his doomed Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, soon to be ex-Pres. Barack Obama said, "Yeah, he's a white guy, but he's a really outstanding jurist. Sorry."
QUOTE THAT SCARED US SILLY
A week after an Islamic State supporter massacred 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando Florida, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said: "Our most effective response to terror and hatred is compassion, unity and love."
QUOTE THAT SHOULD'VE LED TO A SECOND PRESIDENT CLINTON
After Fox News debate moderator Megyn Kelly recounted his history of gross comments about women, President-elect Donald Trump suggested her question had to do with menstruation, telling CNN: "You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever."
QUOTE THAT SHOULD'VE GIVEN HIM A JOB IN TRUMP'S CABINET
In a fight over money with former girlfriend Laura Govan, former UA basketball star Gilbert Arenas posted a video saying that with his $111 million NBA contact ending, he was going to have to pull his kids out of private school. He said if Govan insisted on sending the kids to private school, she better start "selling that pu***y."
QUOTE THAT MAKES US THINK ABOUT BASEBALL IN A DIFFERENT WAY
A book by former New York Mets star Lenny Dykstra climbed to #11 on the New York Times bestseller list with outlandish claims, including that he spent $500,000 bribing big league umpires to ensure a favorable strike zone.
"Their blood is just as red as ours," said Dykstra. "Some of them like women, some of them like men, some of them gamble. Some of them do whatever... It wasn't a coincidence do you think that I led the league in walks the next two years, was it? Fear does a lot to a man."
FIGHT WE'D PAY A YEAR'S SALARY TO SEE: FORMER PIMA COUNTY SHERIFF CHRIS NANOS VERSUS RHONDA ROUSEY
Voters removed Chris Nanos as Pima County Sheriff after a number of troubling episodes during his brief tenure, including the indictment of a deputy on federal charges of mismanaging public funds. Another episode occurred in February, when Kevin Kubitskey, head of the deputies' union, alleged that Nanos assaulted him during an encounter at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge. The encounter involved raised voices, poking and arm slapping, but the Maricopa County Attorney's Office investigated the matter and said charges were not warranted.
THE JUICE IS LOOSE
The gossip website Radaronline reports that O.J. Simpson, not guilty of killing his wife and Ron Goldman according to a racially blinded Los Angeles jury, is now wearing adult diapers and pooping himself in prison. Serving a 30-year hitch for armed robbery, the former NFL running back can longer control his bodily functions and has earned the cellblock nickname, Stinky
DO YOU WANT FRIES WITH THAT?
While running from cops in helicopters, Joshua Adkins demonstrated his priorities by pulling into the drive-thru lane of a Phoenix In-N-Out Burger. After placing his order, he waited a moment before skipping out, sans food. He drove three more miles before ditching his car, bolting through a neighborhood and trying to enter a home through a back door. The cops arrested him.
News outlets reported he had an outstanding warrant for domestic violence, aggravated battery assault and unlawful imprisonment.
HE FELT THE BYRNE
Badly misreading the UA student body, Athletic Director Greg Byrne proposed adding a mandatory $200 fee to the bills of incoming students to pay for $150 million in renovations at Arizona Stadium. A whopping 94 percent of students opposed, forcing him to shelve the idea.
With state support to the school waning over the years and the outrageous salaries paid to basketball coach Sean Miller and football coach Rich Rodriguez, critics believe the school too heavily favors sports of over its real mission, academics.
WAIT, WE'VE CHANGED OUR MINDS. IF WE'RE GOING TO BLOW SERIOUS STACKS, LET'S BLOW IT ON THE STADIUM
In the midst of a money crunch, the UA nevertheless found the cash to hire two people to fill the post of chief diversity officer. Rebecca Tsosie will earn $215,000 and Jesus Trevino $214,000. The post was previously held by an assistant VP making $118,000.
THIS USE OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT THAT HAS US THINKING FONDLY OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT
A man dressed as a Boy Scout appeared on the UA campus harassed passing women by yelling, "Close your legs and stop dressing like a whore!" Known as Brother Dean, the man held up signs saying, "Rapists Deserve the Death Penalty!" "Frat Boys are the Rapists!" and "Sorority Girls are Whores!"
Some women complained that a police officer stood by while they were being sexually harassed. Student Ali Cummings said: "I have never felt so offended and unsafe in my life"
High School Musical actress Vanessa Hudgens and boyfriend Austin Butler were fined for carving their names and a heart into a Sedona rock formation in the Coconino national Forest over Valentine's Day. Federal law prohibits anyone from "damaging natural services or property of the United States."
The couple posted a picture of their illegal artwork on Instagram and followers alerted the media, effectively busting them.
CHAPO'S EXCELLENT HOME IMPROVEMENT TOUR
After his 2015 prison break in Mexico, Sinaloa Cartel honcho Chapo Guzman twice entered the U.S. illegally to visit relatives in California, according to Rosa Isela Guzman Ortiz, his eldest daughter.
She wouldn't reveal how he crossed, but said her father wanted to see the five-bedroom house he'd bought for her and her children. Her claim could not be confirmed, but the Sinaloa Cartel has pioneered the use of tunnels to smuggle drugs and operatives into the country. Guzman was captured again in Los Mochis, Mexico, in January 2016.
- Hector Acuña
OJ IS STILL LOOKING FOR THE REAL KILLER
Ally Miller, the Lady Macbeth of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, denied that her aide, Timothy DesJarlais, set up the Arizona Daily Herald website, using the alias Jim Falken, to punk political opponents with phony questions.
When Tucson Sentinel editor Dylan Smith questioned Falken, the website was taken down and Miller suggested that someone had adopted the online identity to embarrass her, falsely accused a Republican Party activist of setting up her aide in order to embarrass her, and filed a complaint with the FBI's cybercrime unit.
Desjarlais later confessed to being Jim Falken and resigned from his job.
- Hector Acuña
HE'LL ALSO UPHOLD ALL 432 AMENDMENTS
President-elect Donald Trump promised during a meeting with House Republicans to protect a non-existent "Article 12" of the U.S. Constitution.
"It wasn't a surprise to anybody that he might get a little bit ahead of himself regarding to the number of articles that exist in the Constitution," Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina told the Wall Street Journal. "There were a number of folks that looked at each other funny when he said 'I'm for Article I, I'm for Article II, I'm for Article XII."
There are only seven articles in the Constitution.
I SEEM TO HAVE LOST MY MONKEY
Police in Nogales, Ariz. launched a street-by-street search for a 49-year-old Capuchin monkey with a 20-inch tail, cataracts and a hearing problem. Even though Benji was said to be a friendly primate, police warned
that he might bite if picked up.
WHO'S MORE VALUABLE TO MANKIND, A MASS MURDERER OR, FOR EXAMPLE, A LABRADOR? JUST SAYING
After Chapo Guzman's recapture, the head of Mexico's penitentiary system told a radio interviewer that new prison procedures included having a dog sample the drug lord's food. Authorities gave Guzman a canine food taster to protect him from poisoning.
MICRO-AGGRESSION ALERT! BORDER PATROL AGENTS ON CAMPUS NEED A SAFE SPACE WHERE THEY CAN PLAY WITH BALLOONS AND CUDDLE DOLLS
A UA group that claims to represent marginalized students demanded the school sever ties with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, not allowing the federal agency to recruit on campus.
The group said: "Given the high militarization of the US/Mexico border in Arizona and the violence it promotes against undocumented/migrant communities, the presence of Border Patrol on campus promotes a hostile environment towards Latina/o communities."
COULD YOU OPEN THE SUN ROOF, JEEVES? MY ENORMOUS HEAD DOESN'T FIT IN THIS CAR
A report by the Arizona Republic on the travel expenses of UA's Senior Vice President of Health Sciences Joe G.N. "Skip" Garcia, who makes $870,000 a year, found that over three years ending in early 2016, he spent $78,000 on in-state and out-of-state trips.
Because important people need to make maximum use of their time, he also billed the state for a chauffeured car when traveling between Tucson and Phoenix, to the tune of $475-$575 per trip.
After the controversy, Garcia resigned his senior vice president's position to become, for two years, an $870,000 professor and researcher.
MAY WE ALL BE POOR SOCIALISTS
Former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders failed to file a personal finance disclosure and refused to discuss his purchase of a new vacation home in North Hero, Vermont, on the shore of Lake Champlain. He and wife, Jane, paid $575,000 in cash for the house.
HE THOUGHT IT WAS A BURGER KING DRIVE-THRU
A dog driving a slow-moving car nearly ran over a shopper in a Walmart parking lot in Wayne, West Virginia. After the woman got out of the way, the car crashed into the store. The woman saw a dog in the driver's seat and a second pooch in the passenger seat. After the crash, the passenger-seat dog managed to roll down his window.
The dogs' owner had left her car running while she shopped to keep the dogs cool. Somehow one of them managed to get the car out of park.
CUSTOMER: I'D LIKE A BUN WITH THAT.
WAITER: SIR, THEY ONLY COME IN PAIRS.
The world's first naked restaurant opened in London. The Bunyadi has a seating capacity of 42 and a waiting list of 44,000. Founder Seb Lyall said: "We believe people should get the chance to enjoy and experience a night out without any impurities; no chemicals, no artificial colors, no electricity, no gas, no phone and even no close if they wish to. The idea is to experience true liberation."
ER, WAIT, WHAT DOES UBIQUITOUS MEAN?
Columnist Amy Otto, writing in The Federalist, argued that Kim Kardashian and others have made female breasts so ubiquitous and distracting that men are basically becoming stupid. The "sheer boobitude" available through online porn, Kardashian's Twitter feed and Tinder is hastening our decline. "Kim Kardashian looks lovely, but she may be making us all less prosperous," Otto wrote.
THEY THOUGHT KIM KARDASHIAN WAS SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR
Nearly 10 percent of college students think TV's Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court, according to a study. The students also could not identify the term lengths in Congress or the substance of the First Amendment. About three-fourths couldn't identify James Madison as the father of the Constitution.
A Texas mother of three had jaw surgery to correct an overbite and woke up with a British accent. A doctor diagnosed Lisa Alamia, of Rosenberg, Texas, with foreign accent syndrome, a condition afflicting fewer than 100 people worldwide.
WAY, WAY OVER THE BORDER
A jury convicted Chris Simcox, a founder of the Minuteman border-watch group, of child molestation and one count of furnishing obscene material to a minor. He was sentenced to 19.5 years in prison.
DAILY BEAST HEADLINE: MEAT LOAF COLLAPSES ON STAGE
Actually, it wasn't dinner that collapsed, but the legendary rocker of the same name.
After hauling him off the stage in Edmonton , Canada, doctors doused the human Meat Loaf with salt and a little ketchup and he perked right up.
HE DON'T NEED NO STINKING BADGE
Oregon cowboy Robert Borba lassooed a fleeing bike thief in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Eagle Point, Oregon. Borba was loading his truck when he heard a woman screaming. He got his horse, Long John, out of the trailer and rode after Victorino Arellano-Sanchez, throwing a rope over him. As Arellano-Sanchez was being held before the police arrived, he asked Borba, "Do you have a badge to do this?"