The hardest part about writing something interesting is to come with something of interest. It’s so much easier just to steal from someone who actually writes interesting stuff.

So we did.

Last week Bill McGurn, who writes for the Wall Street Journal, published a piece that provided incisive commentary. So, naturally, we had to steal his idea, but with a local twist.

Besides, Bill McGurn is an old, chubby guy and old chubby guys must stick together.

Lori Loughlin and her legal mess was the topic of the column. As you remember, Ms. Loughlin is a famous Hollywood actress who paid a monstrous bribe to get her daughters enrolled in USC.

Before we continue, it is important for readers to understand the origin of the word ‘Hollywood.’ Like much of modern language, the word has Latin origins.

The first part is from the Latin word ‘holl-ious,’ which means ‘like’ or ‘akin to’ or ‘same as’ – depending on which Latin scholar does the translation. The second part is taken from the Latin word ‘wood’ which, oddly enough, means wood.

Therefore the translation of ‘Hollywood’ from Latin to English is literally ‘the people who work there are dumb as wood.’

Ms. Loughlin is no exception.

A lack of anything that even resembles acumen is the only explanation why Ms. Loughlin would pay a $500,000 bribe to get her daughters into USC. Now, it may be a nice place. But paying a half-mil to get admitted to any college is just plain stupid.

And Ms. Loughlin’s dumbness knows no bounds.

Instead of pleading guilty to reduced charges, Ms. Loughlin entered a not-guilty plea. She plans to fight. Alright, maybe she thinks she’s innocent (Re: See definition of Hollywood). Her argument perhaps will be that anyone could easily misplace $500,000.

But this is a high-stakes game she’s playing.

Instead of spending 12 days in jail, like another Hollywood actress who did plead guilty, Ms. Loughlin faces up to 45 years in prison – 45 years! – if she is convicted.

And that is what Mr. McGurn wrote about.

He questioned why the Justice Department cares that a rich-but-shallow lady paid a bribe involving a private school. He asked how that is a crime against the federal government and why such a ‘crime’ warrants a 45-year sentence?

In the end he said he hoped Ms. Loughlin would win her case.

Of course, he said it all way better than that. But this brings us – finally – to the local tie to this story.

Years ago a local family that operated a successful business here in Benewah County got crossways with the Justice Department. Their story generated lots of news coverage.

But the more news about their ‘crimes,’ the less the case brought by the Justice Department made sense. None of that deterred the legal-beagles at Justice – they continued to turn the screws on the family.

They turned so hard, the man eventually served time – even though it was hard to understand what crime had been committed.

It was so odd that I asked a lawyer friend to explain things. He didn’t even try. Instead he said in effect that if Justice Department lawyers have you in their sights, your goose is cooked.

As I remember, he used the word ‘bastards’ more than a few times.

Sure, he could have exaggerated. But this lawyer is now a judge, so we can presume he is better acquainted with federal law enforcement than the rest of us.

This is somewhat timely.

Over the last two years – and it continues today – we have learned a lot about the inner-workings of the Justice Department and particularly the FBI. Not much of it has been good. Just last week it was reported that the FBI may have altered documents in their investigation of General Mike Flynn. (Interesting note: ‘Altered’ is from the Latin word for ‘framed.’)

So yes, it’s true. A silly actress, a local family, Russia!Russia!Russia! and the Flynn debacle is not conclusive evidence that the Justice Department is poorly named.

But it does make one wonder.

DAN HAMMES is publisher of the Gazette Record.

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