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just for fun

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Are you looking for a little sugar rush today? You’re in luck: It’s National Doughnut Day. Now a national event, the first National Doughnut Day happened in Chicago in 1938. And it wasn’t dreamed up by bakers or marketers but by the Salvation Army as a fundraiser to commemorate the work of the “doughnut girls” or “donut lassies” who fed the treats to American soldiers during World War I (the “doughnut girls” returned to their baking duties during World War II.) The Salvation Army provided support for U.S. soldiers fighting in France during World War I. About 250 volunteers traveled overseas and set up small huts located near the front lines where they delivered clothes and supplies to soldiers. Foodstuffs were limited on battlefields, but doughnuts were relatively easy to make since they were just sugar, water, flour, and lard. The doughnut girls fried doughnuts in the field, seven at a time, to…

I spent much of the weekend wandering around my old stomping grounds in Raleigh, North Carolina, with my daughter. We stopped into one of my favorite spots for dinner, and the waiter brought out the beverage list: There was practically an entire page dedicated to local beers. It was quite a change from back in the day and speaks to the popularity of craft beer in America these days (for the record, I opted for a brown ale from Lonerider). According to the Brewers Association, small and independent brewers collectively produced 25.9 million barrels and realized 4% total growth last year. Beer is so popular that it even has its own day: National Beer Day falls on April 7 and marks the day that beer was allowed to be legally manufactured and sold following a long, dry Prohibition. On March 22, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Cullen–Harrison Act into law, which…

According to Shawshank Redemption’s Red, “In prison, a man will do most anything to keep his mind occupied.” That apparently includes doing income taxes. A real-life Andy Dufresne has been accused of receiving special treatment in exchange for advice on taxes and other matters. Robert Potchen was initially sentenced to 15 years in prison for holding his wife hostage at gunpoint. However, the 61-year-old was moved to Orange County (Florida) Jail while awaiting a probation violation hearing. According to Orange County court records, Potchen contacted his wife in writing on multiple occasions while in prison, which is allegedly contrary to the conditions of his probation. Potchen disputes that the communications constituted a probate violation. While not an attorney, many of Potchen’s court pleadings and related legal correspondences have been pro se (self-prepared). In 2016, the court issued an order that Potchen was “to be given access to the Law Library if it is not…

If you feel like your cell phone bill gets bigger every time you see it, brace yourself: Rates are about to go up again. As Congress scrambles to balance the budget – even as spending has spiraled to a whopping $1.3 trillion for this fiscal year – they hit upon a realization. Texting is more popular than ever, with nine out of ten American adults owning a cell phone. Billions of texts are sent each year either as phone-to-phone or through mobile apps, which means that a tax on messaging would generate millions of dollars in new revenue annually. You can’t tax email under current law. Under the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA), there’s a prohibition against taxing email (that’s been the rule since 1998). And while the ITFA had been the source of some debate, on February 24, 2016, President Obama signed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of…

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