TIME Wisconsin

Foster Mom Recalls Oregon Teen Found in Suitcase

Jenny Gamez
This undated photo released courtesy of Lorraine Eriksen shows Jenny Gamez, an Oregon teenager identified Monday, June 30, 2014, as one of two women whose bodies were found in suitcases in Wisconsin. AP

Steven Zelich, a 52-year-old security officer, was arrested last week and charged with two counts of hiding a corpse

(ELKHORN, Wis.) — An Oregon teenager identified Monday as one of two women whose bodies were found in suitcases in Wisconsin had a hard time after giving up her son to his father, but she was turning her life around and had won a college scholarship before she disappeared, her foster mother said.

Investigators believe Jenny Gamez was killed in Wisconsin in late 2012 or early 2013, when she was 19. Steven Zelich, a 52-year-old security officer, was arrested last week and charged with two counts of hiding a corpse, though prosecutors say they expect homicide charges to be filed.

Gamez had moved from her home in Cottage Grove, Oregon, to be closer to a community college about 20 miles north in Eugene. She lived with friends and visited her family, but eventually fell out of touch, said her foster mother, Lorraine Ericksen.

“I was surprised that I didn’t hear from her,” Ericksen said. “I knew she spent some time in California with friends, but her friends in Cottage Grove said she stopped texting with them, and after that we could not get in touch with her.”

She said Gamez, who had been in foster care with numerous families since she was 5, “was a joy to be around.” Gamez came to live with her about three years after she relinquished her parental rights of her son, and Ericksen said she helped her get through high school.

Ericksen said she was shocked when police showed up at her door Friday, looking for a hair sample and telling her Gamez might have been murdered.

“We were all wondering what had happened to her,” she said.

Zelich was arrested after highway workers discovered the two suitcases while cutting grass June 5 along a highway in Town of Geneva, about 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee. The other body previously was identified as Laura Simonson, 37, of Farmington, Minnesota.

“It is one of the more horrific crimes I’ve been involved in,” said Geneva Police Chief Steven Hurley, who has worked for 36 years in law enforcement. “It has taken a lot of twists and turns in the past few weeks.”

He said one reason for the delay in identifying Gamez was that she had never been officially reported missing. Ericksen said she last saw Gamez more than a year ago, when Gamez visited and brought her a plant.

“She was an upbeat kid who wasn’t afraid of trying new things, she even took a sculpture class. Other kids all loved her. We were pretty close and it was devastating what happened to her,” Ericksen said.

“I’m also surprised she was involved with a man that age, it wasn’t what she would do here,” Ericksen added. “She never ran around with kids that were more than a year or two older than her.”

According to a criminal complaint, Zelich told investigators he met the women online. He said he killed Gamez in late 2012 or early 2013 in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, and Simonson in November in Rochester, Minnesota.

Rochester police have said they believe Simonson died in a hotel there because she checked in with Zelich on Nov. 2, and he left alone the next day.

Gamez was identified through dental records, said Kurt Picknell, undersheriff in Walworth County, which includes Town of Geneva. He declined to detail how investigators linked Gamez to the bodies in Wisconsin.

Walworth County District Attorney Daniel Necci has said he expects homicide charges to be filed in the counties where the women were killed. But Zelich’s public defender, Travis Schwantes, said the deaths may have been accidents and perhaps something that happened during consensual sex.

Zelich had been working as a licensed private security officer for Securitas Security Services USA when he was arrested last Wednesday. He worked for the police department in the Milwaukee suburb of West Allis, Wisconsin, from February 1989 until his resignation in August 2001, a few months after a prostitute told police the two had struggled when she tried to flee Zelich’s home. According to a police report, Zelich told investigators the two struggled over money the woman tried to steal from him.

———

Wozniacka reported from Portland, Oregon.

TIME Campaign Finance

Scott Walker’s Legal Battle Could Change Federal Elections

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker makes a stop at the Republican Party of Wisconsin Appleton Headquarters Saturday, June 21, 2014 in Appleton, Wis.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker makes a stop at the Republican Party of Wisconsin Appleton Headquarters Saturday, June 21, 2014 in Appleton, Wis. Sharon Cekada—AP

A case in Wisconsin has national implications

Wisconsin has hosted perhaps the nation’s best political circus in recent years, full of recall elections, lawmakers crossing state lines to avoid votes, and angry mobs of protesters occupying the capitol. But the latest attraction contains the seeds of a legal argument that could reverberate far beyond Madison.

Local prosecutors been building a case around the possibility that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was part of a “criminal scheme” to illegally coordinate spending with conservative groups that helped him survive those recall attempts. Walker has not yet been charged, and he may never be. In recent months, the conservative groups have fought back by arguing in court that the prosecutors are politically-motivated and basing their case on a flawed reading of the law. A state and a federal judge have so far agreed, stopping the investigation as appellate courts review the matter.

What comes next could have big consequences for how candidates behave in the rest of the country. That’s because in his May 6 decision blocking the probe, federal judge Rudolph Randa ruled that the U.S. Constitution gives candidates and outside groups a First Amendment right to coordinate spending on advertising, unless the money is used to expressly advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate. “Only limited intrusions into the First Amendment are permitted to advance the government’s narrow interest in preventing quid pro quo corruption and then only as it relates to express advocacy speech,” Randa wrote. “As other histories tell us, attempts to purify the public square lead to places like the Guillotine and the Gulag.”

This constitutional argument could have big implications for federal campaign finance law, which currently does not follow Randa’s reading of the constitution. The Federal Election Commission currently bans coordination between candidates and outside groups on ads that just mention candidates in the weeks before election, even if the ads do not explicitly call for their election or defeat. This is the reason why President Barack Obama did not coordinate his advertising with labor unions or Super PACs backed by wealthy liberals in the last campaign, and why Mitt Romney did not huddle with Sheldon Adelson during his campaign to discuss strategy.

“There is the potential here for the 7th Circuit to confront what is federal coordination,” says election law attorney Trevor Potter, who is critical of the Randa decision. “That sounds like a Supreme Court case.”

And the Supreme Court has not been kind to campaign finance restrictions in recent years. The justices have tossed individual contribution limits and undone rules limiting the political spending of corporations, unions and the wealthy. Should the court take up the Wisconsin case, the next step could be allowing lawmakers to plan campaign strategy with the Sierra Club or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. No middleman required.

For many conservative campaign finance experts, this is an obvious next step, given the current direction of Constitutional law. They argue that the current FEC regulations, which arise out of 2002 campaign finance reform legislation, will not withstand constitutional scrutiny. “They can try to enforce that,” says Hans van Spakovsky, a former FEC commissioner who supports the Randa ruling. “But if they end up in court they are going to lose that case.”

Coordination cases in campaign finance law are rare, since they require clear evidence of discussions that happen in back rooms. The case in Wisconsin is further complicated by the fact that state law is far less precise than federal law when it comes to what kinds of coordination are allowed.

But the 7th Circuit now clearly has an opportunity to test the federal law. And candidates for federal office, who increasingly rely on outside groups they cannot strategize with directly to get them elected, have reason to hope that the rules will someday change.

TIME States

Prosecutors Say Wisconsin Governor at Center of ‘Criminal’ Fundraising Scheme

Wisconsin Republican Convention
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the Republican party of Wisconsin State Convention on May 3, 2014, in Milwaukee. Jeffrey Phelps—AP

Legal setback for 2016 presidential hopeful

Prosecutors say Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is at the center of a “criminal scheme” to coordinate fundraising with conservative groups across the country, according to documents revealed on Thursday.

The documents were unsealed Thursday by order of a federal judge as part of a lawsuit that sought to block a secret state investigation, known as a “John Doe probe,” into the 2012 gubernatorial recall elections, which the incumbent Walker won. In the filing, the prosecutors say Walker, his chief of staff Keith Gilkes and another top adviser illegally coordinated with national conservative groups and national figures including GOP strategist Karl Rove. Rove’s assistant said he was traveling Thursday and couldn’t comment.

Walker, a potential Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential elections, has not been charged with a crime. In a statement, Walker decried the investigation as “partisan… with no basis in state law.”

“The accusation of any wrongdoing written in the complaint by the office of a partisan Democrat District Attorney by me or by my campaign is categorically false. In fact two judges, in both state and federal courts, have ruled that no laws were broken,
” he said.

The secretive investigation began in 2012 ahead of the gubernatorial recall election, when prosecutors began looking into whether independent conservative groups—which have no limit on their fundraising—illegally coordinated with campaigns for Walker and other state candidates, whose fundraising is much more regulated. But in May, a federal judge put the probe on hold, ruling that it was a breach of free-speech rights. That judge, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa, also said in his ruling that that the type of coordination in question is not illegal if it focuses just on advocacy, and not on getting the candidates elected. A separate Wisconsin judge overseeing the probe had previously made a similar judgment.

The prosecutors are appealing Randa’s decision to halt the investigation.

But the controversy has the potential to disrupt Walker’s political ambitions, both in 2016 and in the fall. Walker, who is in the final months of his first term as governor, faces a close race for reelection. Polls show Walker and Democrat Mary Burke, a former Wisconsin state commerce secretary, locked in a tight race.

“Wisconsin has always been a clean-government state and allegations like this really resonate with voters,” said Scott Becher, a Wisconsin Republican political consultant turned public relations advisor.

Becher said that if Walker hopes to run in 2016, “voters of the state need to reelect him and he needs to have a good credible answer to what happened here.”

TIME TIME 100 Gala

Gov. Scott Walker Praises Moms

+ READ ARTICLE

“Pat Walker,” says Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker of his mother, “taught her children that they could do and be anything.”

Named by TIME as one of the most influential people for 2014, Walker raised a toast in honor of mothers everywhere, especially those who teach us “that to do well in life, we need to find ways to do good for others.”

TIME elections

Wisconsin Voter ID Law Struck Down In Federal Court

The determination by a Federal judge that the law unfairly burdens poor and minority voters could set a precedent for similar challenges across the country, in states like Texas and North Carolina, which have passed their own voter ID laws

A controversial Wisconsin voter identification law was struck down in federal court Tuesday, when a judge ruled it unfairly burdens poor and minority voters.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman ruled the law, which would have required voters to show government-issued photo ID cards in order to cast ballots, violates the equal protections clause of the U.S. Constitution. Proponents of the measure say the law would cut down on voter fraud, but opponents argue voter ID laws serve to exclude minorities and the poor, who are more likely to lack a government-issued ID or to have the documents needed to get one, from participating in elections.

According to the Associated Press, Adelman’s ruling in Wisconsin could serve as a precedent for challenges to similar laws underway in states across the country, including Texas and North Carolina.

The voter ID issue tends to cut down sharp partisan lines, with Republicans in support and Democrats, whose traditional support bases include low income and minority voters, opposed to the measures. The Wisconsin law was passed by the state’s GOP-led legislature in 2011 after a similar measure was vetoed three times by a Democratic governor between 2002 and 2005.

Wisconsin’s voter ID law was in effect for just a primary in 2012 before a county judge declared it unconstitutional. The law will remain unimplemented while it is appealed, which is something Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who supports the law, has promised to do. “We believe the voter ID law is Constitutional and will ultimately be upheld,” Walker’s office said via Twitter after the decision came down Tuesday. “We’re reviewing decision before deciding on potential action.” Walker has said he would call lawmakers into a special session if courts didn’t uphold the current measure.

[AP]

 

TIME Crime

Wisconsin Inks Bill to Prevent Parents From ‘Giving Away’ Adopted Children

Wisconsin Governor Mellencamp
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker answers questions from reporters on April 16, 2014, in Madison, Wis. Scott Bauer—AP

Wisconsin has passed a first-in-the-nation law that prevents parents from handing over custody of their adopted children without judicial approval

Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill into law on Wednesday aimed at limiting private custody transfers of their unwanted adopted children following a disturbing report that detailed the unregulated trade of adopted minors in the state.

The legislation is a national first and was launched following a five-part Reuters investigation into the practice of “re-homing children.”

According to the news outlet’s expose, hundreds of parents were using social media sites to advertise their adopted children and were then handing them over to strangers found through the Internet.

Without proper safeguards in place, numerous children were being given to abusive adults, and in one disturbing instance a mother handed over her nine-year-old adopted son in a motel parking lot to a pedophile hours after posting a notice about the child on a Yahoo message board.

“With virtually no oversight, children could literally be traded from home to home. In Wisconsin, that is now against the law. Hopefully citizens of the country will follow our lead,” said Republican state Rep. Joel Kleefisch, who sponsored the legislation.

In accordance with the new law, parents seeking to transfer the custody of their children must receive judicial approval first. Those who fail to comply with the new regulation can face up to nine months in jail or be fined $10,000.

[Reuters]

TIME March Madness

The Only Final Four Drinking Game You’ll Need Tonight

Patric Young
Florida center Patric Young dunks during practice for an NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball semifinal game, April 4, 2014, in Dallas. David J. Phillip—AP

It's a good time to be a sports fan as we prepare for today's big Final Four games: UConn vs. Florida and Wisconsin vs. Kentucky. To celebrate, TIME presents its inaugural Final Four drinking game. Enjoy, but don't forget to drink responsibly

Final Four parties are super fun. The games are played on a Saturday night, so unlike, say, parties for the Super Bowl, you don’t have to worry about work in the morning. And they’re also a celebration of something more: the best few weeks of the sports calendar. College hoops is about to crown a champ, baseball’s getting into the swing of things, the Masters is coming up, the NBA playoffs are approaching, the NFL Draft is in the foreseeable future. It’s a good time to be a sport fan, tax season be damned.

So, to help prep for today’s big games — Florida vs. UConn at 6:09pm EST, and Wisconsin vs. Kentucky at 8:49pm, both on TBS — and celebrate your good sports fortune, TIME presents its inaugural Final Four drinking game. Enjoy, but please do so responsibly. Obey all local drinking age laws, don’t overindulge and take a cab ride home if need be.

Here are TIME’s rules for a Final Four drinking game:

1. The first time Florida’s Michael Frazier makes a three-point shot, imbibe. It shouldn’t take that long: Frazier can catch fire quickly. Against South Carolina in early March, Frazier sank a school-record 11 three-pointers: this season, he led the SEC in three-point percentage field goal percentage, shooting at a 44.7% clip. He also led the SEC in an even more important stat, true-shooting percentage, at 65.1% (true-shooting percentage is an efficiency measure that takes into account three-point field goals, two-point field goals, and foul shots). Frazier models his work ethic after Ray Allen, the NBA’s all-time leader in three-pointers: on game days, he’ll launch upwards of 400 shots to get in rhythm.

2. Every time you hear the word “student-athlete” in an NCAA commercial during the games, drink. The NCAA has a habit of running propaganda ads during big events, touting how the organization is like a spirit squad for “student-athletes,” has the backs of “student-athletes,” etc. Drink now, cause that term may soon be disappearing. According to the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago, “employees” is the more appropriate name for college athletes — at least for football players at Northwestern.

3. Every time UConn star Shabazz Napier makes an outside shot with a defender harassing him — the kind of shot that makes you say “noooo, what are you doing?” – and that shot goes in anyway, chug away. Napier’s an expert at making the “holy s–t” shot.

4. Choose which mascot TBS will show first in each game. Pick one, and drink if you’re correct. I’ve got Albert E. Gator and Bucky Badger.

5. The first time an announcer mentions that UConn coach Kevin Ollie played for 11 different NBA teams during his 13-year career, start double fisting.

6. For CBS, the Final Four has traditionally served as one big promo for its upcoming coverage of the Masters, which starts next week, on April 10. So even though the games are being broadcast on TBS this year, the networks are partners on NCAA tournament coverage. You’ll surely hear the soothing Masters piano – “ding, ding, ding, ding,” — that accompanies the Masters plugs. So each time you hear the Masters theme song, dream of azaleas and Amen Corner and all the mythical beauty of the Augusta National, and take a few soft sips. You’ll have a healthy buzz.

7. Sip every time TBS shows Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan scowling on the sideline. Like this. Or this. Ryan’s always been a first-class all-tournament scowler.

8. Kentucky has reached the Final Four with five freshman starters. Michigan, led by Chris Webber and Jalen Rose and Juwan Howard, was the last team to win this much with five rookies, back in 1992. That Michigan team was christened “The Fab Five.” So during Kentucky-Wisconsin, the first time you hear a “Fab Five” reference from one of the announcers, you know what to do.

9. Ever since the NBA set a rule in 2005 essentially mandating that players spend a year playing college ball before entering the pros, Kentucky coach John Calipari has done a better job than any coach in the country of recruiting a collection of talented freshmen, molding them in to a championship-caliber team, and shuttling them to the NBA. So the term “one-and-done” is now stuck to Calipari’s suit. When the TV cameras show Calipari, and someone says the words “one-and-done,” you will drink.

10. Wisconsin’s most intriguing player is seven-footer Frank Kaminsky. His game, and personality, are a little quirky: Kaminsky can fool you with his awkwardness, as he’s just as comfortable firing threes as he is posting up around the basket. And he was always a bit of a class clown, earning the nickname “Frank the Tank” a decade ago, in homage to Will Ferrell’s character in the movie Old School. So when someone mentions “Frank the Tank” on Saturday, you may have to pull a Frank the Tank yourself.

But seriously, be careful. Don’t end the night like the original Frank the Tank did. Because on Final Four Saturday, you don’t want to miss the drama. If we’re lucky, Florida-UConn and Wisconsin-Kentucky will treat us to two classics. Let’s all raise our glasses to that.

TIME NCAA Tournament

The Final Four: 4 Predictions

Scottie Wilbekin of the Florida Gators scores against the Dayton Flyers during the Elite 8 Getty Images

Since Obama bombed his bracket, see how the pro predictors are calling the shots

The final rounds of the Big Dance tip off Saturday in Dallas with Florida playing UConn at 6:09pm and Wisconsin taking on Kentucky at 8:49pm. Kentucky’s thrilling upset over Michigan makes the 8-seed one to watch. And while Florida has only lost two games this season, one of those losses was to the team it’s now up against. The other? To Wisconsin. See who the favorites are below.

FiveThirtyEight and Nate Silver
The lead data-cruncher has Florida favored over Connecticut and Wisconsin over Kentucky with Florida winning it all. Silver, who called the 2012 Presidential election correctly, also accurately predicted Louisville as last year’s tournament champ.

Sports Illustrated
The magazine’s new issue might be cursing Kentucky by putting the team on its cover. The issue puts Kentucky and Florida in the finals with the overall estimate that Billy Donovan will bring home his third ring for the Gators.

ESPN’s Top Bracket
ESPN’s current bracket leader mike_opheim24 (who has 10 different brackets) earned a perfect prediction score for the Elite Eight. For this weekend’s match up, he has Florida and Kentucky meeting on Monday ending with the Wildcats cutting down the net.

Warren Buffett Bracket
Though nobody won Warren Buffett’s billion-dollar bracket challenge, the top scorer thus far puts Florida and Kentucky in the finals game, predicting Florida will win 72-64.

TIME College Basketball

4 Things to Know About The Final Four

Marcus Lee of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball against the Michigan Wolverines during the midwest regional final of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 30, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana Andy Lyons—Reuters

The last chapters of the 2014 NCAA Tournament promise more madness than all of March after Kentucky's win over Michigan on Sunday night

It’s the homestretch of March Madness, with the Final Four finally set after Kentucky’s thrilling win over Michigan on Sunday night. The last rounds of the Big Dance start Saturday at AT&T Stadium—yes, the $1 billion spaceship Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones built that has no business hosting a basketball game, save for the gazillions in cash all those extra seats bring in.

When looking at the teams left standing, what first pops out is the seeding. A No. 1 seed (Florida) and a No. 2 seed (Wisconsin) made it out out of the South and West regions, respectively. But two lower-seeded teams made it to Texas, too: a seventh-seed out of the East, and a No. 8 seed out of the Midwest. But those two teams, UConn and Kentucky, aren’t exactly Cinderellas. Not when they’ve won two of the last three national championships (UConn took the title in 2011, and Kentucky won it all in 2012).

No Butlers, no VCUs, no George Masons, no Wichita States this season: In 2014, the Final Four belongs to basketball royalty. Except for Wisconsin, really. The Badgers last made the Final Four in 2000, and despite its 1941 national basketball championship, Wisconsin is still primarily known as a football school. But that can all change this year. The Badgers, who face Kentucky in one national semifinal game, are deep, fast, and for the first time in forever, actually kind of fun to watch. If we’re making predictions—and why not?—we see Wisconsin cutting down the nets next Monday night. As you prepare to make your own Final Four calls, here are four things worth considering.

Gators Chomping

Florida, which won back-t0-back national titles under coach Billy Donovan in 2006-2007, has won 30 straight games going into this year’s Final Four. That’s a remarkable streak, given that Florida doesn’t seem to have NBA-ready players like Joakim Noah, Al Horford, and Corey Brewer—standouts on those title teams—on this year’s roster. However, Florida plays an inside-out style that’s given teams fits all year. Inside, senior Patric Young, a 6’9″, 240 pound center, makes clever moves around the hoop with both hands. On defense, he finished third in the SEC in block percentage, and swatted away four shots against Dayton in Saturday’s regional final. Outside, senior Scottie Wilbekin was the SEC Player of the Year, and few players in college hoops are more creative off the dribble.

The last time Florida lost was on Dec. 2, to UConn, who the Gators will face in the other national semifinal.

The Shabazz Show

If there’s one team in the this year’s Final Four that represents that chaos of college sports, it’s UConn. The Huskies play in the American Athletic Conference, which in the first year of its existence is sending a team to the Final Four. Pretty heady stuff for a rookie league. The AAC was born after the basketball-centric schools from the old Big East, in which UConn used to play, decided to form their own conference, which is still called the Big East. The AAC has a football, and basketball, imprint that will weaken next year, when Louisville flees to the Atlantic Coast Conference, and Rutgers decamps to the Big Ten.

Whatever: What’s important here is that UConn beat Michigan St. at Madison Square Garden on Sunday in what was essentially a home game. For years, UConn fans flocked to New York to support the Huskies in the Big East tournament, and the UConn fans gave the building a similar electricity on Sunday. So a team no longer in the Big East is going to the Final Four, in part because it was playing in the friendly confines of its former conference.

UConn is also coming off of academic probation. The Huskies were ineligible for the 2013 tournament because of poor academic performance. Meanwhile, the University of Central Florida released a report last week, detailing the Graduation Success Rates (GSR) of the Sweet 16 hoops teams. UConn’s graduation rate: eight percent. So how in the world is a school with an eight percent graduation rate coming off of academic probation? Because the NCAA has designed another metric, the Academic Progress Rate (APR), which measures whether current students are remaining academically eligible. So while a past cohort of UConn students failed to graduate at alarming rates, the current UConn students are maintaining sufficient enough grades to compete, according to the NCAA. But are these UConn players actually going to graduate? Is the APR a true measure of academic achievement?

Such debates, often involving mind-numbing acronyms like APR and GSR and AAC, always lurk in the shadows of college sports. For Final Four purposes, however, just know this about UConn: The team’s leading scorer, Shabazz Napier, has an uncanny ability to make shots with defenders draped all over him. Back in 2011, another UConn scorer, Kemba Walker—who now plays for the Charlotte Bobcats—carried the Huskies to a championship. Napier, who was a freshman on that title-winning team, seems to be having his Kemba Walker moment. That’s pretty terrible news for Florida.

The One-and-Doners Do It Again

Kentucky starts five freshmen. Of the three players who came off the bench during the Wildcats’ thrilling 75-72 win over Michigan in the Midwest regional final, two were freshmen. The other was a sophomore. Kentucky coach John Calipari, as he seems to do every year, assembled what’s called one of the greatest recruiting classes in college basketball history. In 2012, led by future NBA standout Anthony Davis, the Wildcats won the whole thing. Then poof, everyone went pro. This crop of freshman didn’t gel during the regular season—thus, Kentucky’s 8-seed. But the Wildcats peaked when they had to. Now, Calipari can test his one-and-done formula at another Final Four. Calipari’s sales pitch is simple: Come to Kentucky for a year, play with some fellow future NBA players, maybe win some games, and, most importantly, move on to the pros as quickly as possible. Million-dollar contracts, not diplomas, dominate the discussion.

To many moralists, Calipari’s act is despicable. But all he’s done is play the system. The NBA set the age-limit rule, disallowing players to jump straight to the pros, like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant had done in the past. Calipari has a history of mass-producing NBA players, assembling like-minded stars for their temporary campus stay, and melding them into a competitive team. If you’re a Julius Randle, the NBA-bound Kentucky forward, why not spend your only college season at the Final Four? It’s the Calipari way. Coach K wins the gold medals. But his one-and-done star, Jabari Parker, won’t be in Dallas. Duke couldn’t hang with Mercer.

Badgers Have Bite

Kentucky won’t roll over Wisconsin. Under coach Bo Ryan, the Badgers have always had a reputation for being one of those tough, grind-it-out Big Ten teams that will always finish high in the polls. But they just aren’t dynamic enough to win the whole thing. In other words, they’re kinda boring. No more: Wisconsin is one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country, and the Badgers can pick up the pace. Against Kentucky, Wisconsin may try to slow things down a bit. Racing future first-round picks up and down the floor probably isn’t wise.

And if things go wrong for the Badgers, Ryan will scowl. You can do worse things on a Saturday night than watch Bo Ryan scowl.

This Final Four just has the right vibe. Now, let’s hope it lives up to expectations.

Another zany prediction: It will.

TIME 2016 Election

Wisconsin’s Scott Walker Tries To Outshine New Jersey’s Chris Christie In D.C. Visit

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker during the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort & Conference Center at National Harbor, Md., on March 16, 2013.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker during the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort & Conference Center at National Harbor, Md., on March 16, 2013. Douglas Graham—Roll Call/Getty Images

Facing controversies, Republican governors show different strategies for handling scandals.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker came to Washington this weekend with a clear message to deliver to the national press: He’s not New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

In the swanky J.W. Marriott hotel just blocks from the White House, which both governor’s have hopes to soon occupy, the two embattled Republicans presented radically different strategies for handling swirling questions about the actions of former political aides.

Walker, who is facing questions over a newly released trove of documents from an investigation into his first campaign, has nonchalantly stopped for repeated questions from reporters, conveying a ‘nothing to see here’ message. He’s glad-handed lobbyists and activists for hours on end, unfazed by attention of the press. Christie, meanwhile, has been almost entirely out of view at the National Governors Association meeting, continuing a weeks-long effort to avoid the limelight. In a closed-door meeting of governors Saturday, several governors described Christie as uncharacteristically quiet and reserved. The New Jersey Governor appeared at just a pair of official NGA events, breaching past the assembled press and confining most of his activities to quietly fundraising for the Republican Governors Association.

Six former Walker aides and allies have been convicted of wrongdoing following an investigation into improper campaign activities by official staff when Walker was Milwaukee County executive mounting a campaign for the governor’s mansion. The release last week of tens of thousands of pages of documents from that first investigation was branded as “old news” by Walker, who noted repeatedly that a Democratic prosecutor had closed the investigation last year without any accusation that he had done anything improper. “People want to go through 27,000 pages plus of details, and our approach is ‘case is closed,’” Walker said. “A Democrat district attorney looked at it, and he’s done. It’s done.”

Walker did, however, note that the investigation into Christie aides’ involvement in closing lanes to the George Washington Bridge is “just beginning.”

“He addressed it early on, but obviously he’s not out of the woods yet,” Walker said, comparing their situations while exiting a NGA reception for state adjutants general that Christie skipped. “He’s got the legislature which is not on his side politically, and they’ll probably drag it out for some time.”

The twin controversies have vastly different stakes for the lawmakers. Christie, seen for the better part of a year as the GOP’s 2016 front-runner, has faced seemingly unending interest from the media in his scandals, not least because of its placement in the New York City media market. Copious unanswered questions and unreviewed documents make calculating the ultimate fallout difficult, while the source of his troubles, relatable traffic problems, will be a hard image to shake.

But for Walker, safely away from the Acela corridor and dealing with a four-year-old probe, there has been little more than a week of bad press and isolated embarrassing stories about aides’ old emails. The investigation was a prominent story line through his 2012 recall election, from which he emerged stronger than ever. A second probe, meanwhile, is continuing into Walker’s recall election.

The Democratic National Committee has tried hard to equate the two scandals this week, noting the common story lines of improper activity by senior aides and questions about how much the lawmakers knew about it. Democrats are hoping the scandals will help bring down Walker this fall and plan to use Christie’s troubles to defeat the Republican candidates he stumps for in his role as chairman of the RGA. “I’m just grateful that I don’t have Democratic governors who have those challenges,” said Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, the chair of the Democratic Governors Association. “We don’t get indicted, we don’t get criminal investigations—we create jobs.”

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