Janet Protasiewicz has a major early spending lead over Dan Kelly in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, according to media tracking firm Medium Buying.
By early Monday afternoon, liberals had reserved over $7 million in ads between the primary and April 4 general election to boost Protasiewicz’s Wisconsin Supreme Court bid.
Between the primary and Monday, conservatives hadn’t run television ads to boost Kelly. But Fair Courts America, a group funded by GOP donor Richard Uihlein, committed to spending $866,000 on ads on Monday, according to Medium Buying.
Conservatives will almost certainly spend millions more to support Kelly, a former state Supreme Court justice. But at this point, Protasiewicz has more than a 7-to-1 ad spending advantage over Kelly in the general election.
The Protasiewicz (pronounced “pro-tuh-SAY-witz”) campaign committed to spending $6.5 million in ads, a spokesperson said, and A Better Wisconsin Together Political Fund committed to more than $500,000, according to Medium Buying.
Conservatives already have more work to do than liberals to unify their partisan camp, UW-Madison political science professor Barry Burden said, citing the scrappy primary dynamic between Kelly and fellow conservative Waukesha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow.
Combined with the ongoing need to unify, “being behind the eight ball on spending compared to Protasiewicz just puts them at a deeper disadvantage, and that has to be rectified pretty quickly if they’re going to be competitive,” Burden said.
—WI State Journal
Homicide clearance rates have decreased to their lowest level from 71 per cent in 1980 to around 50 per cent in 2020, according to analyses of FBI data by the Marshall Project and Murder Accountability Project.
America is now at risk of becoming the first developed nation where the majority of murders go uncleared, according to Thomas Hargrove, founder of the Murder Accountability Project, which tracks unsolved homicides in the US.
Although US police have solved more murders than in any year since 1997, because of the increasing number of homicides, the clearance rate has dramatically declined to a little below 50%.
Clearance rates are the metric used to determine how many homicides police solved according to FBI reports.
This comes after a substantial surge in homicides in some of America’s biggest cities, including Kansas City when it saw 15 murders for every 100,000 people in 2022.
Researchers found that the top five homicide hotspots were Detroit, Michigan, St Louis, Missouri, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Denver, Colorado, was the best performing of the 50 big cities in the study.
—The Daily Mail
It’s not a layup, but the Milwaukee Bucks are confident in their chances of hosting either the 2025 or 2026 NBA All-Star Game.
The team is currently crafting its proposal to the league which will include the number of hotels, restaurants, event spaces and other items needed to host a weekend of festivities.
It’s not the first time Milwaukee has taken this shot. The city was unsuccessful in 2018 when it bid for the event for 2022 and 2023.
“Since before (Fiserv Forum) opened we’ve been consistent in expressing our interest in hosting an All-Star Game,” said Michael Belot, senior vice president of the Milwaukee Bucks ventures and development. “The game gets booked years out. To this point we haven’t been awarded one, but we want to be steadfast in that interest.”
“But our building at the time that we did bid, Fiserv (Forum) was also very young,” said Marissa Werner, director of Sports Milwaukee, who is working with the Bucks on the pitch. “And now that the NBA has had the capability to see that it really is a world class venue.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said during the All-Star weekend Feb. 17-19 in Salt Lake City, the league estimated it generated $280 million in economic impact for Utah.
An announcement regarding future NBA All-Star host cities will be made in the coming months, a league spokesperson said.
A lot has changed for Milwaukee since 2018 when Fiserv Forum opened to show the league the city has what it takes to handle the attention that will come with hosting the NBA All-Star Game and related weekend festivities.
Milwaukee was chosen to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention which would have brought thousands of people to the area had it not been for the coronavirus pandemic.
When the Bucks won the NBA Championship in 2021, the city was not only put on an international stage, but it also showed how it could handle the tens of thousands of fans who turned out, both inside and outside, the forum.
Then weeks after the NBA Finals, the Ryder Cup came to Whistling Straits and brought a national audience to Sheboygan.
In 2022, Fiserv Forum hosted the first two rounds of the NCAA March Madness tournament.
Later this year Milwaukee plans to host the USA Triathlon National Championships.
Next year, the Republican National Convention will come to Milwaukee.
In 2025, the NCAA tournament is coming back to Milwaukee and the US Women’s Open at Erin Hills plans to also come to Wisconsin.
“We kind of are the best hidden secret,” Werner said.
—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Gov. Tony Evers is reviving a proposal to allow thousands of visitors and residents in 14 counties to indulge in Wisconsin’s favorite pastime until just before dawn during the Republicans’ national convention next year.
Under a measure included in Evers’ 2023-25 state budget plan, bars could stay open until 4 a.m. during mid-July 2024 when the Republican Party will host its national convention in Milwaukee to nominate its presidential candidate.
The proposal was first taken up by state lawmakers in 2020 when Democrats were expecting to host thousands of people in Milwaukee for their national convention. But the coronavirus pandemic canceled those plans and lawmakers never passed the legislation.
The new measure will allow bars and restaurants to stay open until 4 a.m. between July 15 and July 19, 2024, in 14 counties — Kenosha, Racine, Walworth, Rock, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Jefferson, Dane, Ozaukee, Washington, Dodge, Columbia, Sheboygan, and Fond du Lac — if officials there pass a resolution allowing the later closing time and bar owners apply for an exception during the convention.
Currently, bars and restaurants must close at 2 a.m. on weekdays and 2:30 a.m. on weekends.
—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Bayshore will start removing vehicles this week from the mall’s Silver Spring parking garage after it partially collapsed Feb. 23, the mall announced Monday afternoon.
A temporary ramp connecting the first level to the second level is being installed by engineers, according to a news release from Bayshore.
The Bayshore management team, along with Bayshore Security, will escort the vehicle owner to their vehicle to confirm ownership, retrieve their key and officials will then drive their vehicle out of the parking garage, according to the release.
The parking structure, located near Trader Joe’s at 5600 N. Port Washington Road, partially collapsed on Thursday around 12:15 p.m., according to the North Shore Fire Department.
The collapse happened one day after the Milwaukee area received about 1.2 inches of snow and sleet, which meteorologists say is the liquid equivalent typically equating to 10 inches of snow.
—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R) said on ‘Fox & Friends First’ Monday the American people want the truth about the origins of COVID after hearing repeated lies and “misinformation” from Dr. Anthony Fauci and officials. Van Drew, a former Democrat, said American taxpayer money was used to fund the research at a China lab where the virus is suspected to have leaked.
JEFF VAN DREW: We’re going to dig in the House of Representatives.The House really wants to know true answers. These are some of the things we talked about even during the campaign. It’s enough. People are tired. They want a government that tells them the truth. They want a government that works for them. We don’t work for the government. I hate to say it this way, but this is sick stuff.
[…] It’s been lie after lie, misinformation after misinformation. And it’s about time we crack this egg open and really find what’s actually going on. What’s most hurtful, not only did the Chinese and we and we know the real truth, poison the world and the United States, I mean, let’s just tell the truth. Hopefully it was an accident. But not only did they do this, but they lied about it. And we have an administration that doesn’t have the guts to go forward and get the truth out of them. And we paid for that part of it all. We paid for the damn lab.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday that he couldn’t “confirm or deny” the Wall Street Journal’s reporting on the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) recent conclusion that the COVID-19 pandemic likely originated from an accidental lab leak in China and added there was “no definitive answer.”
The WSJ first reported that the DOE concluded that coronavirus likely spread due to an accidental leak at a Chinese laboratory. The outlet cited a classified intelligence report recently provided to the White House and key members of Congress.
The Public Interest Legal Foundation, a public interest law firm focused on cleaning state voter lists, has launched a new interactive tool for concerned citizens to monitor their states’ voter rolls. The database lists current voter roll errors in all 50 states’ voter lists including duplicate registrants, deceased voters or those who have moved out of state, and voters registered at commercial addresses.
Using PILF’s interactive map, users can click on each state to view a statistical breakdown of its voter roll errors with links to more information and a breakdown of PILF’s litigation pushing the state to clean its rolls.
According to the law firm, there are more than 317,000 dead registrants on state voter rolls across the country. Additionally, PILF’s tool reveals more than 54,000 same-address duplicate registrations and more than 449,000 interstate duplicates, meaning voters are registered in more than one state.
“We hope this interactive database will draw attention to the hundreds of thousands of errors in the voter rolls,” PILF President J. Christian Adams said in a statement. “Every error in the voter rolls is a vulnerability in our elections that can lead to fraud and abuse. Election officials must do their job and keep accurate voter rolls.”
Deceased Registrants as of 2018: 6,805
Interstate Duplicates: 39,834
2018 Duplicate Vote Credits: 1,828
2016 Duplicate Vote Credits: 2,066
Registrants Credited for Voting from Non-Residential Addresses in 2020: 800
Heavy snow bookended the United States on Tuesday, with a late-season storm bringing a messy morning commute to the Northeast and California residents digging out, or in some cases simply stranded, after yet another storm.
While not a blockbuster storm by regional standards, the Northeast felt what could end up being the most significant snowfall of what has so far been a mild winter. The brunt of the storm hit Boston as the Tuesday morning commute commenced.
A winter storm warning covered parts of the Northeast, including Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island, with heavy snow forecast through Tuesday afternoon.
Most of the nation’s flight cancellations or delays were concentrated in the Northeast early Tuesday. There were about 450 flight cancellations in the U.S. and over 500 delays, according to FlightAware.com.
The Supreme Court is taking up a partisan legal fight over President Joe Biden’s plan to wipe away or reduce student loans held by millions of Americans.
The high court, with its 6-3 conservative majority, is hearing arguments on Tuesday in two challenges to the plan, which has so far been blocked by Republican-appointed judges on lower courts.
Arguments are scheduled to last two hours but likely will go much longer. The public can listen in on the court’s website.
Twenty-six million people have applied, and 16 million have been approved to have up to $20,000 in federal student loans forgiven, the Biden administration says. The program is estimated to cost $400 billion over 30 years.
Republican-led states and lawmakers in Congress, as well as conservative legal interests, are lined up against the plan as a clear violation of Biden’s executive authority. Democratic-led states and liberal interest groups are backing the Democratic administration in urging the court to allow the plan to take effect.
He’s back on top.
Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk regained his title as the richest person in the world Monday after he was stuck in second place the last two months, according to Bloomberg.
The eccentric billionaire’s net worth was $187.1 billion after Tesla stock shot up 5.5% Monday afternoon, edging out French businessman Bernard Arnault, whose fortune is at $185.3 billion, the financial outlet reported.
After Musk, 51, became the first person to ever lose a jaw dropping $200 billion entering 2023, shares in his electric car company reportedly helped him earn back richest title with about a 70% increase in Tesla stock price this year.
Musk, who owns Twitter and SpaceX, lost his wealthiest title in December to Arnault, who owns and runs LVMH, the world’s most massive luxury goods company.
He bought Twitter for a stunning $44 billion last year and has since cut more than half of the social media company’s staff, including another 200 employees in recent days.
We have another mini-freakout from a COVID test result. Yes, it’s from a medical professional still masking and getting endless doses of the coronavirus vaccine.
Meet Dr. Deepti Gurdasani, a clinical epidemiologist who is also an intersectional feminist. She got infected and decided to go on a lengthy thread about her journey. She does not know where she picked up the pathogen, but it’s irrelevant. It’s an airborne virus whose prevalence peaks around the same time as cold and flu season. It’s something to behold because most don’t care anymore. There’s a reason why nations like Japan downgraded COVID. It’s no worse than the flu now, given the vast array of therapeutics.
What triggered this thread is beyond me, but if it’s due to the stigma some inflict on others for catching a highly contagious airborne virus with a 99.8 percent survival rate, I don’t know what to tell you other than you’re mentally ill:
We don’t need an explainer. Tens of millions of people got COVID and survived. I’m sure Dr. Gurdasani will, too, although everyone has different symptoms. We don’t need to hear about the data points about masking or COVID boosters, either. Masking did not work, and the COVID vaccine was probably unnecessary for those who had already recovered from the infection. This is a free country, so these matters are personal, but the government decided to make it a more prominent issue when they threatened to fire people who didn’t want to get the vaccine, which might be linked to myocardial episodes among young Americans. This age group didn’t have people dropping dead until two years ago. I wonder what drug was introduced during that period.
Liberals always had this holier-than-thou attitude about COVID until they all got it during the Omicron surge. Then, it was terrible to stigmatize people who got infected. It was a clown show, and for people who still freak out over their test results, all I can say is to get over it. Also, stop testing. Mask mandates are over—no one is wearing them. Occupancy limits are nixed as well. We’re back to normal. I suggest you get with the program as well. If not, that’s fine, but you lose your right to lecture, which I know can be difficult for the left that adheres to a strict regimen of didacticism.
A woman who got SIX covid shots & always wore a mask for three years has tested positive for covid and this thread shows how many of these covid lunatics have lost their minds. Prior to covid if you got six shots to protect yourself from a virus and still got the virus, you’d sue the company that gave you the six shots for a virus you still got. When will people like this realize they are the idiots? Ever?
Dr. Deepti Gurdasani
I finally got infected and tested positive last Tue. It’s been a rough wk. Not sure where I picked it up- it was following a flight so may have been during the flight or at the airport (didn’t remove FFP3 at any point, except for ID) – or perhaps outdoors swimming. I don’t know.
—Matt Vespa, Townhall
Before President Joe Biden entered the White House, he consulted with several prominent historians about how to be a great commander in chief. Their answer: Grow government. Spend, spend, spend. Don’t worry about blowing up the debt.
It was the worst possible advice, and that meeting no doubt contributed to our economic calamity.
So, I wasn’t surprised to read about a poll of more than 100 of America’s most prominent academic historians who rated the greatest and the worst presidents. This is a farcical popularity contest that the Siena College Research Institute conducts every few years.
The results tell us much more about the leftward political leanings of historians than it does about presidential performance.
For example, the president ranked the highest in recent surveys has consistently been Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Others in the top five include Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and George Washington.
How is FDR a great president? Yes, he was the commander in chief of the military during World War II and deserved high marks for winning the war. But his domestic economic agenda was a failure of epic proportions. For the first eight years of the New Deal’s expansion of modern-day big government, the unemployment rate remained at about 10%, and the Great Depression went on and on.
Woodrow Wilson is also rated a near-great president. He raised the income tax from 7% to 70%, pulled America into a war we shouldn’t have fought, ran up the debt and ushered in the first disastrous era of “progressive” government. He is easily one of the five worst presidents of all time.
Biden was ranked 19th overall. So, the president who has raised the national debt into the stratosphere and has allowed inflation to surge to its highest level in 40 years is an above-average president? For what exactly? Uniting the country?
Speaking of economic failures, President Barack Obama lands in 11th place, and President Lyndon Baines Johnson is 8th best. His legacy was the catastrophic Vietnam War, the failed Great Society and the birth of the modern-day welfare state.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ledger, President Ronald Reagan, who won the Cold War, defeated communism and launched a three-decade stretch of prosperity, is rated only the 18th-best national leader. Reagan barely beats out Biden!
Donald Trump is ranked as the next-to-last of all presidents. Trump cut taxes, deregulated, made America energy-independent, was tough on China and engineered Operation Warp Speed that saved millions of lives worldwide. For that, he’s near the bottom of the heap.
—-Stephen Moore is the chief economist for the Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – In 1983 the final episode of the immensely popular TV series M*A*S*H aired and was watched by an estimated 106 million viewers.
THIS WEEKLY BLOG POSTED EVERY MONDAY PROMOTES A CULTURE OF LIFE
Don’t miss our heartwarming closing story every week!
From Pro-Life Wisconsin:
ANNUAL PRO-LIFE WISCONSIN ART CONTEST
6th annual Pro-Life Wisconsin Prayer Card Art Contest is underway for students in grades 1-12! Do you love painting, drawing, photography, or graphic design? Submit your artwork and have a chance to win the 2023 contest for your grade. If chosen as a winner, we will reach out to your pastor for a pro-life prayer which will be printed on the back of your artwork in prayer card form. Prayer cards will be printed and distributed through your church and PLW. All entries must be postmarked by May 1, 2023.
Grade winners will receive: – Their design featured on a prayer card – 500 prayer cards for their church – 3 tickets to the 2023 PLW Love for Life Gala
ONE GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive all of the above plus $100 cash
For more details and to submit artwork, visit our website here.
WHITE HOUSE BRACES FOR RULING ON ABORTION PILL’S FATE: (AP News) – “The Biden administration is preparing for a worst-case scenario if a conservative federal judge rules in favor of a lawsuit seeking to restrict access to one of the two drugs typically used to induce a medicated abortion. Two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, can be taken by women at home and are used for just over half of U.S. abortions. But that could be quickly changed by a lawsuit filed by an anti-abortion group in Texas that claims the Food and Drug Administration wrongly approved mifepristone for use more than 23 years ago.” Read the full story here.
OB/GYN SAYS DOCTORS HAVE SEEN ‘SEVERE COMPLICATIONS’ FROM ABORTION PILL REGIMEN: (Live Action) – “Four national medical associations and four doctors filed a lawsuit in November against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), claiming that the FDA illegally approved the abortion pill in 2000, putting the well-being of women and girls at risk. One board-certified OB/GYN is now sharing that she sees complications from the abortion pill on a daily basis. […] AAPLOG board member and CEO-elect Dr. Christina Francis told Newsmax that she has seen firsthand the harm that is being done to women and girls by the abortion pill.” Read the full story here.
Both sides of the abortion debate gear up for a pitched battle in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court race
Corrine Hess, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel February 27, 2023
With the Supreme Court race sprinting to the general election, abortion rights and anti-abortion organizations are marshaling their forces for their chosen candidates as the issue takes center stage in the race.
The battle, which has become one of the most watched political races in the country, revolves around state election maps, private school vouchers and voting rights. But the issue of abortion is sure to dominate the next five weeks.
Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz, who campaigned on restoring abortion access in Wisconsin, emerged as the top vote-getter Tuesday with 46%. Her campaign is already out with new television advertising targeting her opponent, former Justice Daniel Kelly, on abortion.
Kelly, who called Protasiewicz’s messaging a “danger to our liberties,” emerged in second place in Tuesday’s primary.
The ideological balance of the court is at stake in the April 4 election in which a Protasiewicz win would give liberals a 4-3 majority after more than a decade in the minority.
Supreme Court likely to decide Wisconsin’s abortion law
After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, Wisconsin reverted to a law from the 19th Century banning abortion in nearly all cases — a policy at odds with the majority of Wisconsin voters, according to state polling.
Following the ruling, Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul filed a lawsuit to overturn Wisconsin’s 1849 criminal abortion ban — a case that is widely expected to end up before the state Supreme Court.
Republican leaders late last year said they hoped the GOP-controlled Legislature could introduce amendments to the state’s abortion ban or write a new law that would be signed by Evers so the state Supreme Court wouldn’t have to weigh in, but the newly re-elected governor has repeatedly said he would veto any bill unless it codifies abortion rules in place under the five decades of Roe v. Wade.
“We don’t want to have a Supreme Court race that is supposed to be about dozens of issues being about one topic that shouldn’t be determined by the court,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said in December.
Vos and Assembly Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu did not respond to requests for comment following the primary election.
Former GOP Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen said at this point, abortion legislation won’t happen.
“I don’t think it is possible to get any agreement on legislation now that the Democrats think their candidate is going to win and overturn the existing laws,” Jensen said.
Brandon Scholz, a longtime Republican strategist, said there is no point discussing what the Legislature should do because the case will end up at the Supreme Court.
“Had Judge Protasiewicz not said any of this, you could expect the court would take a liberal turn, or if the conservatives keep the seat, you would expect to know how the court would vote,” Scholz said. “But under a Protasiewicz majority, you’re going to lose on redistricting, you’re going to lose on Act 10, you’re going to lose on governing process, you’re going to lose on abortion. You’re going to lose on everything.”
Protasiewicz gives a nod to her abortion stance as a factor in her primary win
Protasiewicz said she thinks being clear about her “personal values” regarding the abortion issue contributed to her success with voters in Tuesday’s primary.
“I think the utter extremism, which I think has been one of our most permeating messages, clearly resounded with the voters. Every place I went when I talked to voters, they said they don’t feel like our Supreme Court is fair,” Protasiewicz said. “We don’t feel like we get a fair shake. We feel like there’s a group of partisans there who make decisions and that they’re not in touch with how we feel.”
Kelly said he’s going to spend the next six weeks telling voters that it’s the court’s role to address legal questions, not political ones.
“I understand that Judge Janet has certain policies that she wants to pursue, but she can only do that by tearing down our Constitution, setting aside our law to make sure she can get to her favorite positions,” Kelly said. “My position is quite simple. We follow the law to the extent that is consistent with the Constitution. Anything else is left to the Legislature.”
Abortion issue has already brought money into the Supreme Court race
Matthew Rothschild, head of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, said he expects heavy spending by groups on both sides of the abortion issue over the next five weeks of the Supreme Court race.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin spent $693,000 supporting Evers in his re-election campaign last year, and Women Speak Out PAC, a partner of Susan B. Anthony (SBA) Pro-Life America, a super PAC, spent $323,000 supporting his GOP challenger Tim Michels, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
“These groups were very concerned with who was running for governor, so I’m sure they will be donating, given the pivotal role the new justice will play in Wisconsin’s abortion law,” Rothschild said.
SBA Pro-Life America has committed six figures to the election and urged people to vote for Kelly before the election.
“The Wisconsin Supreme Court is in danger of becoming a tool of the radical abortion lobby, regardless of what the people, the Constitution and the law say,” said Kelsey Pritchard, SBA Pro-Life America director of state public affairs. “The pro-abortion candidate, backed by a national pro-abortion lobby group while airing ads attacking life-saving protections for the unborn and vowing to rule in favor of abortion on demand, is abandoning the law and the will of the people.”
According to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, SBA’s group spent $66,000 backing Kelly in the primary and the group Women’s March spent $10,000 on Protasiewicz.
“Most of the money hasn’t come in yet, but we think we’ll see it start to flow in the next five to six weeks of heavy campaigning,” Rothschild said.
But all told, spending exceeded $9 million in the primary alone — a record level — with billionaire Richard Uihlein dropping $2.4 million in support of Kelly and the liberal group A Better Wisconsin paying out $2.2 to support Protasiewicz and to undermine Waukesha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow’s primary campaign. Heading into this year’s race the record for spending by candidates and outside groups in a Supreme Court race was $10 million in the 2020 campaign in which Jill Karofsky ousted Kelly.
Advocacy groups line up behind candidates
Abortion rights doctors who are part of the Committee to Protect Health Care’s Reproductive Freedom Taskforce publicly signaled their support for Protasiewicz.
“Doctors shouldn’t have lawmakers telling us how to do our jobs, and women shouldn’t have their personal health care choices made for them by Supreme Court justices,” said Dr. Shefaali Sharma, a Madison OB/GYN. “Simply put, there’s no room in the exam room for politicians or politics. Like doctors and most residents in this state, Protasiewicz trusts women to decide what is best for themselves and their families.”
Wisconsin Right to Life spokeswoman Gracie Skogman said the state’s current abortion ban is already protecting lives, but the organization understands the state Supreme Court will likely have the final say.
“We appreciate Justice Kelly’s dedication to upholding our state Constitution and practicing judicial restraint,” Skogman said. “We would encourage the Legislature to focus on legislation that provides support to women in Wisconsin, such as funding for pregnancy resource centers and Medicaid expansion for postpartum women.”
Wisconsin Right to Life, Wisconsin Family Action and Pro-Life Wisconsin have endorsed Kelly. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin is backing Protasiewicz.
Identity theft can be perpetrated in many ways. When I worked for state Senator Mary Lazich she and I both attended a summit on the crime at the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department Training Academy in Franklin. I helped her produce a three-part series that used to be on the Journal Sentinel Community Now websites. Identity theft is very serious business. Here are excerpts from Senator Lazich’s series.
You are not safe
This crime is scarier than most imagine. The former police chief of Columbia, South Carolina, Dean Crisp called identity theft the “most under reported, least cared about” crime. Most police officers receiving a complaint about identity theft according to Crisp have a simple, nonchalant, lackadaisical response: “So.”
Even scarier are these discouraging words from Special Agent Wayne Ivey of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
“No one is immune. There is no silver bullet to stop identity theft.” As evidence, Ivey asks if anyone has been victimized. Several police officers raise their hands.
One out of 10 will be targets. Only one out of 700 identity thieves are actually apprehended, convicted, and go to jail. Law enforcement, unfortunately, are unable to keep up, are saddled with funding limits, and are admittedly focused on violent crime.
Despite the escalation and severity of identity theft, Ivey says law enforcement lacks a clear understanding of the crime and compassion for the victims. To police officers and prosecutors, identity theft just isn’t sexy.
Senior citizens are prey for identity thieves for many reasons according to Ivey. Susceptible seniors are intimidated by, and therefore refuse to use computers. Some are senile, too gullible, too trusting. They are affluent and have nest eggs, and because identity theft is a crime driven by greed, seniors are desirable targets. The thieves know all too well that when victimized, seniors are much less willing to pursue the case fearing involvement and possible retaliation. So their crimes go un-reported.
In Wisconsin, most identity theft is credit card-related followed by government document cases. That follows the national trend. The Federal Trade Commission reports nationally, credit card fraud is the top identity theft complaint followed by fraud related to government benefits, utilities, phones and loans. Identity theft is the #1 consumer complaint in the United States. Again, everyone is vulnerable
How the thieves operate
Are businesses shredding? Not exactly. They hire other businesses to do the work. However, the coveted information to be shredded is placed in huge bags left in break rooms allowing cleaning crews a feast.
Ivey says far too many unsuspecting, naïve individuals like to place mail for pickup in their mailboxes and pull out the red flag as an indication to the postal worker. Red flag is right. Ivey says it’s like screaming out to identity thieves, “Please steal my mail!”
Identity thieves burglarize. Computer hard drives are popular targets. So are women’s purses. The number one place for a woman to have her purse stolen is dropping her children off at school. The number two place is at the gym. Beaches and parks are also prime locations for predatory identity thieves.
Do you use the Felony Lane at your bank’s drive-thru? The felony lane is the lane furthest away from the bank window, a prime spot according to Ivey to cash stolen checks and make phony withdrawals, especially with the lane usually having the worst quality surveillance videos in the bank parking lot.
Guess what inmates are learning in prison as they await their release to commit more crimes? Memory techniques that can be used to shoulder surf. Common at ATMs and check out lines and becoming more frequent at Internet cafes, the identity thief is literally memorizing and stealing your personal information by peeking over your shoulder.
Thieves will stalk and hand pick their partners to steal information at departments of motor vehicles and restaurants. These are typically single moms that agree to a certain fee for each identity they can turn over. At an Orlando TGIF restaurant, 75-thousand credit cards were recovered by authorities. Two waitresses had been using credit card skimmers easily hidden in their uniforms to quickly zap and store names and numbers. Counterfeit equipment is available online with parts sold at Radio Shack.
Thieves have placed overlays on top of ATMs that appear to be authentic, and return days later to remove their wizardry that has captured a host of new victims.
The MOs used by identity thieves run the gamut, and as Ivey noted, there is no silver bullet to stop this evolving crime.
What to do if your identity has been stolen
The typical victim according to Ivey spends 400 hours straightening out a case, a period of 12.7 months transpires before an investigation even starts. By that time, all critical evidence could be gone.
If you are a victim:
1) Call the police.
2) Check your bank accounts
3) Contact the credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
4) Work with your creditors.
5) Report your case to the Federal Trade Commission.
To prevent identity theft:
Don’t put outgoing mail, especially bill payments, in personal curbside mailboxes
Make sure no one is standing right behind you when you’re using an ATM machine.
Pay your bills online using a secure site if available.
Don’t give out your credit card number on the Internet unless it is encrypted on a secure site.
If you have to give out personal or financial information from a public phone or by cell phone, make sure no one is listening or wait until you’re in a more secure location.
Shred all financial statements, billing statements, and preapproved credit card offers and the like before tossing in the trash. Use scissors to cut documents if you don’t have a shredder.
Examine all of your bank and credit card statements each month for mistakes or unfamiliar charges.
Pick up new checks at the bank.
Commit all computer passwords to memory.
Don’t give out your financial or personal information over the phone or Internet, unless you have initiated the contact.
Don’t exchange personal information for “prizes.”
Destroy the hard drive of your computer if you are selling it, giving it to charity, or otherwise disposing of it. Physically remove it.
Keep your wallet in your front pocket so a pickpocket can’t take it. Hold your purse close against your body through its straps.
—This Just In…September 15, 2016
MORE from John Mac Ghlionn, a researcher and essayist February 23, 2023
The United States is awash in crime. Rather staggeringly, as I have shown elsewhere, 11 of the world’s 50 most dangerous cities are now in the United States. Of all the various crimes plaguing the country, identity theft is the fastest-growing form of criminal activity.
In 2021, according to a recent report by Javelin Strategy and Research, ID theft-related losses totaled $52 billion and directly affected at least 42 million U.S. citizens.
As we live an increasing amount of our lives online, successfully protecting oneself from ID theft is, for lack of a better word, difficult. Difficult, but not impossible.
Identity theft comes in many forms. Social Security numbers, bank account details, driver’s licenses, personal health information, email accounts, and passwords are all at risk of being exploited.
Why, exactly, is identity theft on the rise?
To answer this rather important question, I reached out to Jin R. Lee, a criminology expert at George Mason University. Dr. Lee, a man who has studied cybercrime in great detail, told me that cases of identity theft and fraud are increasing for numerous reasons, including “the ubiquity of e-commerce and other forms of digital communication, as well as the decentralization of personally identifiable information.”
The digital nature of most transactions, he added, sees us “put our trust in companies to maintain the confidential nature of our sensitive data (for example, names, birthdates, Social Security numbers, passport numbers, driver’s license numbers, credit/debit card information).” This trust, suggested Lee, is often misplaced. We should never underestimate the power of ignorance and negligence.
This data we blindly hand over is eminently valuable, as “it serves as the basis for obtaining credit cards, mortgages, loans, and government assistance,” noted Lee. Although many criminals use the information gathered to apply for the services themselves, others sell the details on the dark web, a murky digital underworld that requires special software to access.
What’s so disconcerting is the fact that cybercriminals needn’t be wizards to steal valuable information. As Lee explained, “offenders can obtain personally identifiable information using low-tech and high-tech methods.” The former involves techniques as simple as taking personal information out of mailboxes and garbage cans. However, he added, the sharp rise in cases of ID theft is more attributable to criminals using high-tech means “due to the ease with which individual offenders can compromise the personally identifiable information of thousands of victims at once.”
In 2023, data, very much the new oil, has never been more valuable. Hence the reason why the methods of extraction are becoming more sophisticated. At the same time, however, protection methods are still extremely primitive.
Instead of targeting individuals, hackers have, in recent times, shifted their focus to large-scale databases that store consumer information. This explains why so many major hospitals are now being targeted. They are data goldmines. This fact is not lost on a number of Big Tech companies that have partnered (and continue to partner) with major health care providers. Can these Big Tech companies be trusted to keep your information safe? Absolutely not.
As Lee explained, “instead of targeting a specific person and their sensitive data,” hackers target major institutions that “have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of sensitive documents and files that can be easily monetized in some way.” Mass data breaches, warned Lee, have become increasingly common over the last decade.
In 2013, for example, the U.S. retail giant Target was, for lack of a better word, targeted. The attack exposed 40 million credit and debit card accounts; fraud-related losses were about $18.5 million.
In 2019, Facebook, now actively involved in the health care sector, failed to prevent over 540 million user records from being captured and subsequently exposed online. In other words, in a few hours, 15 percent of the world’s population had their data compromised, and Facebook was powerless to stop this from occurring.
Who is responsible for these attacks?
Lee told me that, when exploring potential offenders based on geographic location, “recent reports point to Russia and China as two of the biggest cybersecurity threats to America.” One of the major reasons why, he added, involves “the lack of extradition agreements between the United States and both Russia and China,” which allows offenders “to conduct their illicit operations within geographic safe havens.”
Even if law enforcement identifies offenders, the complete lack of extradition agreements gives these actors a great degree of freedom. In both China and Russia, it’s important to note that hackers often work on behalf of the government.
Rather alarmingly, people still fall for the “Nigerian Prince” scam, which involves an individual receiving an unsolicited email from someone pretending to be a foreign dignitary or high-level executive. The elderly are particularly at risk.
“Since numerous instances of identity theft are a result of interacting with socially engineered emails where offenders claim to be legitimate retailers, banks and financial providers, or delivery services,” Lee said, “it would be wise for consumers to be cautious about accepting what they see in online messages at face value.”
One thing that individuals can do to keep themselves safe from fraudulent emails, he suggested, is to look “for signs of foul play.” This, at first, may appear challenging simply because offenders regularly use the same logos and symbols used by legitimate vendors. They also tend to stress that the issue (or issues) raised in the email is time-sensitive. An urgent response, the recipient is told, is of prime importance.
People should always carefully read and scrutinize emails before interacting with them. For example, said Lee, “a fraudulent email from FedEx may contain a subject line/title comprised of a collection of nonsensical numbers (such as ‘No. 17283’) or include language that emphasizes a time-sensitive matter (such as ‘URGENT: PERSONAL INFORMATION WAS SENT TO YOU’).”
Moreover, the email address may also be hosted on a public email domain, such as Gmail or Yahoo. As obvious as it sounds, legitimate organizations will never send emails using public email domains. Large organizations, Lee stressed, “tend to have their corporate name within the email domain itself (for example, @paypal.com), so even if their legitimate corporate name is listed in the front end of the email address, it is good practice to check if their domain name has it as well.”
Another aspect worth analyzing is the quality of writing. Spelling and grammar mistakes in emails are instant red flags that you, the reader, can identify rather quickly. Moreover, fraudulent emails often address recipients using generic terms like “Dear Customer” and “Dear Friend.”
Finally, when it comes to your personal data, try your very best to keep as much of it offline as possible. Again, try not to outsource your information to Big Tech companies if possible. You can request that your social media platform, health care provider, bank, university, etc., never, under any circumstances, share your information with a third party without your explicit consent.
Although it is becoming increasingly difficult to protect ourselves in these digitally-infused times, exercising vigilance may prove to be the difference between being safe and becoming just another hapless victim of identity theft.
Just before the end of a February that has brought weekly winter storms, Wisconsinites will see one more that is expected to bring heavy rain to the southeast part of the state and 2-6 inches of snow and some ice to northern portions of Wisconsin.
Rain in central and southeastern Wisconsin is expected to start at midnight or the early hours of Monday morning.
According to the National Weather Service, rain will peak from 6 a.m. to noon and is expected to stop anywhere from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday. The weather service predicts that most places will see between 0.75 to 1.5 inches of rain on Monday.
Ahead of the rain the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is asking Milwaukeeans to try and minimize the amount of water they are using to try and prevent basement backups and sewage overflow into Lake Michigan and the city’s rivers. Some suggestions included waiting to do laundry and taking shorter showers.
Because of this prolonged period of rain, forecasters are warning of minor flooding in urban and low-lying areas. Taylor Patterson, a weather service meteorologist, said snow and ice pack coupling with covered drains due to previous storms only enhances the chance of flooding.
“With some portions of the ground still frozen it’s going to be harder for rain to seep into the ground or find drains,” said Patterson. “We are recommending that if you live in these areas that you clear drains and make sure all downspouts are cleared.”
Patterson also mentioned that more central counties, such as Columbia, Marquette and Green Lake, could experience freezing rain in the morning hours.
A strip of counties that includes Trempealeau, Monroe, Winnebago and Brown, are under a winter storm watch as freezing rain is a possibility in those areas.
Much of northern Wisconsin – from Door County and Stevens point northwest to Bayfield and Superior – is under a winter storm warning as colder temperatures could mean 3-6 inches of snow and some ice.
—The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that the Energy Department has concluded with “low confidence” that the COVID-19 virus emerged from a laboratory in China.
The newspaper, citing a classified intelligence report, said the Energy Department’s new position adds to divisions within the intelligence community on what was behind the pandemic, which first appeared in Wuhan, China, in late 2019.
The Energy Department’s judgment that a lab mishap was behind the COVID-19 outbreak was based on “new intelligence” and further study, according to the Journal’s reporting.
But some who read the undisclosed intelligence called it “weak,” according to The New York Times, which also reported on the determination. The Energy Department characterized its judgment as being made with “low confidence.”
Exactly what comprises the new intelligence isn’t yet known, but it was notably gathered by the Energy Department’s network of national laboratories, a different intel-gathering method than what was likely relied upon by the FBI, both newspapers reported.
The Energy Department’s conclusion is an update from its previously undecided position.
The FBI has previously determined with “moderate confidence” that a lab leak caused the COVID outbreak, according to WSJ.
However, four other agencies and the National Intelligence Council believe with “low confidence” that the pandemic was sparked by natural transmission involving an infected animal, per the report.
Two other agencies, one of which was identified as the CIA, still haven’t drawn a conclusion.
There is agreement across the government that the virus wasn’t the product of a biological weapons program in China — a conspiracy theory that has sometimes been conflated with concerns about a lab leak.
The classified intelligence report cited by The Wall Street Journal was reportedly provided to some congressional lawmakers and the White House.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday responded to the WSJ report, saying the intelligence community hasn’t come up with a “definitive answer” on the question.
“There is a variety of views in the intelligence community. Some elements of the intelligence community have reached conclusions on one side, some on the other. A number of them have said they just don’t have enough information to be sure,” Sullivan said.
A number of GOP lawmakers quickly jumped on the WSJ report to call for action against the Chinese Communist Party. Others said it proved that suspicions of a lab leak were correct.
“The left spent the past 2yrs trying to censor the truth & cover up for Communist China, but the facts are undeniable,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) tweeted. “The CCP is evil. Its virus killed millions & Xi will stop at nothing to destroy the U.S. It’s time to hold this evil regime accountable.”
Asked whether there should be consequences for Beijing if the U.S. definitively determines a lab leak caused the pandemic, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) on Sunday said there need to be more public hearings on the matter.
“Look, this is a country that has no problem coming out and lying to the world … I think that we need to make sure every country knows that, and then look at what the consequences could be,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“Obviously, millions of deaths, huge economic impacts, and it would once again show that the Chinese Communist Party is not only a menace, but the nature of these regimes is to lie to the world,” the senator said.
Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Ronna McDaniel said Sunday that all GOP presidential candidates who want to take part in the first presidential debate need to agree to a pledge to support the eventual 2024 Republican nominee.
“Anyone getting on the Republican national committee debate stage should be able to say, ‘I will support the will of the voters and the eventual nominee of our party,’” McDaniel told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
However, when asked about how the RNC could enforce such a rule, McDaniel did not provide a specific answer.
“We’re saying you’re not going to get on the debate stage unless you make this pledge. I think people in our party really want to see that. They want to see us come together. They don’t want the infighting,” McDaniel said in response. “We saw big races lost this cycle, because of Republicans refusing to support other Republicans,” she added.
“Unless we fix this in our party, unless we start coming together, we will not win in 2024,” she added.
The first Republican presidential debate will be held in August in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In an email sent last week, McDaniel told RNC members that no other debates have been sanctioned so far and no final rules have been set, reported The Washington Post.
—The Epoch Times, Reuters
Paul Ryan, a member of the Fox Corporation Board of Directors, said this weekend he will skip the 2024 Republican National Convention if former President Donald Trump wins the Republican Party primary.
In an interview on WISN ABC, Ryan was asked where he would be during the 2024 convention held in Milwaukee.
“Where will you be?” the host asked.
“It depends on who the nominee is,” Ryan replied. “I’ll be here if it’s not named somebody Trump.”
“You won’t show up if it’s someone —,” the host said before Ryan quickly cut in.
“Yeah, I’m not interested in participating, no,” Ryan retorted.
“Even if in Wisconsin?” the host asked.
Ryan replied, “Even Wisconsin.”
According to recent polling, it appears probable Trump will be the favorite to win the GOP primary against competitors and hypothetical candidates. A Rasmussen Reports poll found Thursday that Trump more than doubled Gov. Ron DeSantis in a hypothetical Republican primary matchup.
Fifty-two percent supported Trump, while only 24 percent chose DeSantis — less than half. Just 15 percent said they supported former ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, widely viewed as the most establishment candidate among the three potential contenders.
Members of the House Select Committee on China are pledging to redouble their efforts to counter Beijing’s ongoing threats to its targets on U.S. soil.
Standing in front of a now-shuttered overseas Chinese police outpost in downtown Manhattan on Feb. 25, and surrounded by dozens of pro-democracy activists, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), the chairman of the House Select Committee on China, likened the threats from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to those of a mafia.
“They buy off politicians, multinational organizations, companies, and in some cases, law enforcement. They use muscle and threats, instead of persuasion. And like the mafia, they [aren’t] afraid to make people disappear,” he told the listeners at the press event.
Having spoken to dozens of Chinese dissidents, he said, it was “rare to find anyone who hasn’t experienced some low-level forms of digital harassment from the CCP”—one Chinese American citizen was detained against her will in China for eight months while she was pregnant.
“We have been blind while the CCP has been very cunning,” said Gallagher, who was joined by Reps. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) and Neal Dunn (R-Fla.), both members of the China committee. “Now, they want to export that repression around the world, and the only thing standing in their way is our will to defend our values.”
He noted the spy balloon spotted traversing the United States that turned out to be part of a state-run Chinese surveillance program worldwide. Both the overseas police stations and the spy balloon program are an affront to U.S. sovereignty, he said.
“It sent the message of ‘look what we can do and get away with and you won’t push back,’” Gallagher told The Epoch Times about the balloon incident. “So that’s why we need to push back and make sure that we’re not allowing stuff like this to happen.”
—The Epoch Times
Thursday’s partial collapse of a Bayshore parking structure in Glendale came after snow was piled up near the center of its top deck − and a large chunk of concrete beneath that snow pile crashed through to the ground level.
Fortunately, no one was injured − although two Whitefish Bay High School Students were just seconds away from driving into the parking garage’s ground level before the collapse occurred.
That same type of building failure has happened at other parking ramps throughout the United States when snow being cleared from a top open level is concentrated in one spot.
That’s despite widespread warnings about that practice.
The collapse came about a year after Bayshore, which is operated by Dallas-based Cypress Equities LLC, switched from its longstanding snow removal firm to a competing business.
The current contractor, West Allis-based Winter Services LLC, began working for Bayshore during the 2021-’22 season, according to Jesse Hoffman, president of MCR Holdings LLC.
Milwaukee-based MCR Holdings previously held the snow removal contract at Bayshore for around 10 years.
“(Winter Services) piled the snow in one location,” Hoffman told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “In my eyes, it’s negligence. It’s not knowing how a parking structure is built.”
Based on the amount of snow that fell Wednesday and news media accounts which said it was piled in the center of the deck, Hoffman estimated Winter Services piled about 100 to 140 tons of snow on the parking structure’s top level. He said that area could hold about 18 to 20 tons of snow.
MCR Holdings would not have piled snow in the center of the parking deck, Hoffman said. The parking structure’s main support is along the exterior walls and the corners, he said.
People answering the phone at Winter Services declined to speak with a Journal Sentinel reporter.
Bayshore’s spokesperson declined to comment other than to confirm that Winter Services is the property’s snow removal contractor.
An article on best practices for parking garage snow removal, posted at Woodstock, Georgia-based Innovative Engineering Inc.’s Structural Engineering Blog, features this tip as No. 1 on its list:
“Don’t store large piles of snow on the top level. Large snow piles get heavy over time and can quickly exceed the live load limits of the structure or garage.”
—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The former White House physician to Presidents Obama and Trump has a warning for the U.S. regarding President Joe Biden’s declining mental health.
Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) raised concerns days after Biden made notable gaffes while giving an interview and fell again up the stairs of Air Force One.
Jackson cautioned that his decline in cognitive health would lead the country into war.
“It’s TERRIFYING for our country that Biden is our commander-in-chief. He doesn’t know where he’s at half the time, and every day he brings us closer to an all-out war with Russia & China,” Jackson said in a tweet. “His cognitive decline is going to get people KILLED!!”
In the past year, Biden has ramped up the transfer of U.S. military equipment to Ukraine for its border defense and 1,500 new and 750 amended sanctions and export controls against Russia.
Additionally, lawmakers have earmarked $110 billion to help defend Ukraine’s borders.
Meanwhile, Biden continues to ignore his own country’s borders, that is being overrun by illegal migrants bringing everything from sex trafficking to deadly drugs into the U.S.
Since taking office, Biden has let over five million aliens enter the U.S. illegally, ignoring demands for him to secure the border.
The president’s notable forgetfulness and mood swings have worried Republican lawmakers, calling on him to take a cognitive test due to fears he may have Alzheimer’s disease.
Earlier this month, 38 Republican lawmakers demanded Biden to undergo a cognitive test, pointing out similarities between the disease and the president’s personality.
“The Alzheimer’s Association lists “changes in mood and personality,” including being more “easily upset” as one of ten signs of mental decline. You displayed this type of mood change during a cabinet meeting on January 24, 2022, when you apparently did not know your microphone was on after finishing your opening remarks. You called a White House reporter a “stupid son of a b****” in response to a question asked on inflation,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter.
Christiana Trapani’s estimate was a bit off.
OK, way off.
She had used her Door County Candle Company (WI) for a fundraiser to aide a Ukrainian Catholic school in Chicago in January 2022 and sold 20 or so candles.
So, a month later, after Russia invaded Ukraine, where Trapani has family and friends, she launched her own campaign selling yellow and blue candles in 16-ounce glass jars.
Trapani, whose maiden name is Gorchynski, thought — and this is no joke — that she would sell a few dozen and raise maybe a couple hundred dollars.
Only this fundraiser took off beyond her wildest imagination.
Her little shop on the Door County Peninsula has been overwhelmed with orders. Machines have broken from overuse, pouring tables have been added to keep up with the demand, and an expansion has just been completed to provide more space for storage and shipping. She’s added more employees, while a team of volunteers over the past year have put in a collective 200,000 hours to help the cause.
As of last week, on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion, more than 90,000 candles had been sold by Trapani’s candle company and more than $851,000 donated to Razom, a nonprofit formed in 2014 to help the people of Ukraine.
When I visited last week, Trapani was still in disbelief that a simple $30 candle could create such an outpouring of support.
“I didn’t even tell my staff we were doing it because I figured it was something we could do on the weekend and be done with,” Trapani said as we toured her business. “It’s really been a journey. When we started, we weren’t prepared for the volumes and we didn’t know how to manage the volumes. Every day was a learning curve for us but we made it work.”
When Trapani, 29, bought the business eight months before the war, it was making about 15,000 candles a year. This being Door County, the fragrances include cherry, McIntosh apple, pumpkin, cranberry chutney and another that smells like grapes to mimic a vineyard.
On Tuesday, Kay Ellis, of Green Bay, stood beneath a Ukrainian flag and used a copper device and adhesive to attach wicks to the inside bottom of candle jars that would eventually be filled with wax. At a neighboring table, Laura Donnell used a wipe and isopropyl alcohol to clean errant wax off the sides of glass jars. She has been volunteering since May and makes the 40-minute drive every Tuesday from her home in Ellison Bay near the top of the peninsula.
“Even the small things matter tremendously,” said Donnell. “Everyone is doing what they can. Nothing is too small.”
Virtually everything is done by hand, from cleaning the jars to installing the wicks to pouring the wax drawn from vats and old coffee pots. Boxes used to be hand taped, but a machine has been purchased to speed up that part of the process. The expansion also means no longer having to store supplies outside or at the Door County Coffee & Tea Company, which required multiple trips a day with a forklift.
The story of the candles and the fundraising has been told by swaths of local media and has been featured on “ABC World News Tonight” and “PBS NewsHour.” Trapani’s aunt lives in far western Ukraine and turned down offers to evacuate to Poland. But the war, for all of its tragedies, has helped introduce the world to the Ukrainian people, while the candles have provided something tangible for those who are looking for a way to help, Trapani said.
“I think people in the world have learned how resilient Ukrainians are and how strong they are and how they don’t give up,” Trapani said.
—Barry Adams, WI State Journal
A social media influencer claims she developed “digital vertigo” after spending up to 14 hours a day on her phone, with the condition leaving her confined to a wheelchair.
Fenella Fox, 29, says she stared at her screen morning to night, addicted to Instagram, where she has amassed more than 156,000 followers.
But in early 2021, the British brunette reported experiencing headaches and neck pain that gradually intensified. Soon after, she started suffering dizzy spells and nausea.
“I just felt like I really couldn’t walk properly,” Fox told The Mirror of one particular episode. “I felt really unwell. Dizzy, and kind of distorted. I can visualize it, but it’s not easy to explain.”
At the time, the social media star was living in Portugal, where doctors were baffled by her troubles. As her symptoms started to become more extreme, Fox flew to the UK to be looked after by her parents.
“I got a taxi to the airport fine, but when I was in the airport, that’s when I was met with a wheelchair,” she recalled. “I had a wheelchair from that point up until meeting my mom the other end and the wheelchair up until the door of her car.”
Fox allegedly became bedridden and struggled to walk properly, relying on a wheelchair whenever she needed to move around.
Still, the phone addict continued to scroll on her device all day, without realizing it was the purported cause of her problems.
“I’m in bed, I’m scrolling from wake until sleep. What I don’t know is at that point I’m making myself worse,” she stated.
Doctors in the UK were similarly confused by the beauty’s bizarre ailment, and it wasn’t until Fox’s father found articles on “cybersickness” and “digital vertigo” that the phone addict decided to ditch her device.
“I turned off my phone and threw it into the back of the cupboard or gave it to my parents and was like, ‘Please do not let me on this.’ Then I was able to walk again,” she declared.
I have questions but these are just a few I have for those Democrats out there living their lives looking down their noses at those of us who simply won’t obey them. (We never will.) I don’t expect leftists to answer because the answers are obvious, but to know them would require curiosity and the ability to think critically for themselves, and Democrats simply lack the tools.
On “climate change” I have to ask how it is we’re supposed to take you seriously when nothing you’ve predicted has come to pass? We’re well past 30 years of 10-year predictions of coastal flooding, yet Florida still exists. In fact, all the 10-year predictions of doom and gloom haven’t happened.
So, if we haven’t acted on climate change and the “polluting” countries are still pumping out CO2 like it’s a sport, why haven’t your predictions come true? Why didn’t you try to save Barack Obama millions when he bought his mega-estate on Martha’s Vineyard?
On the trans issue, how did all of you lose every bit of life experience and knowledge you’d accumulated over your lifetime inside of about 15 minutes? You don’t really believe the person next to you at a urinal is a woman simply because they peek-a-boo their privates behind thigh fat, do you?
If trans women are every bit as much women and real women, why do they need the prefix “trans”? If trans women are real women why is it that zero straight elected Democrats have ever dated one? Wouldn’t Bill Clinton have gotten what he got from Monica from one by now? Wouldn’t Hunter Biden, who filmed himself having sex with what sure came off as human trafficked, forced prostitutes have filmed himself having sex with a tucked partner, if only by accident? When the chips are down it sure seems like Democrats do, in fact, know what a woman is. Why is that?
On the border, I’ll make this quick: Why do you call illegal aliens “migrants”? “Migrants” migrate, it’s right there in their name. The millions of people flooding across the southern border at your invitation and urging aren’t planning on going anywhere; if they aren’t deported, they’ll never leave. They, therefore, are illegal aliens.
Words matter, or so you people who call everyone a bigot who refers to a guy in a dress as “he,” so why don’t they matter at the border? Migrants enter the country for specific work, generally the harvesting of crops, then go home after completion with their pay. Illegal aliens stay, avail themselves of our social safety net – clog emergency rooms, slow down the education process of American kids while costing the system an untold fortune, receive welfare benefits, etc. – and will never, short of a mega lottery win, be a net benefit to society, even if they were made legal.
I guess my question for you is how can people, unable to communicate in our language and largely illiterate in their own, ever contribute as much (forget more) than they take from our country? Why is the fact that their country sucks our responsibility? Shouldn’t they try to fix their own country rather than be allowed to be a drain on ours? And why do Democrats actively seek to implement in this country the very economic system they marched thousands of miles to escape?
—Columnist Derek Hunter
You go to some of these deep red states where you would think they were based and you have to wonder what the hell they are thinking. Look at South Dakota under Chamber of Commerce Cowgirl Kristi Noem. It took her years and the realization that running interference for the squishes by refusing to sign on to a bill protecting kids from gender freaks was destroying her chance of ever being president before she finally signed something. In places like North Dakota and Idaho, which should be on the cutting edge of medieval conservatism, they regularly elect Buick Republicans who think we should use our inside voices. What gives?
Take South Carolina. Please. Red, red, red. Except it has given us Nikki Haley, who makes Jeb! look like…well, her with lower heels. And it has Tim Scott, a nice guy but someone who would never, ever choose to leave a heap of his enemies skulls on the field of battle as a warning to those who might challenge us.
Look, if you are not into skull-stacking in 2023, you are out of step with the strategic needs of the movement. And then there’s their other senator, Lindsey Graham, the guy who is all in on Ukraine, confirming Dem judges, and amnesty. Sure, Trump digs him – because Trump never learns – but the guy is a fossil locked in a time capsule that says “Don’t Open until 2006 Happens Again.”
How does a state as gloriously scarlet as Lower Carolina breed such throwback Republicans? Is there something in the water? Did Pete Buttigieg let another weird chemical tanker train derail there?
I have a theory.
I think that red state Republicans have it easy and can afford to be soft. Or at least they think they can. And so they often are.
I think that in the blue states, we Republicans have to fight. I can literally go days not talking to anyone who thinks like us who is not a super-hot Cuban woman. We are surrounded by the left, facing off with them all the time, and constantly on alert. We can never let our guard down. It is who we are. Recently, a person in a line of work where most everyone is a pinko took me aside, out of earshot, and expressed joy in meeting others of a like mind. We are the underground, a real resistance, not some sissy MSNBC posing. In the red states, you know normal people in great numbers. For us, it’s a treat to meet one. We could literally hold a meet-up of every conservative in LA in a Denny’s with room for few pinkos to be getting their grand slam breakfasts too.
In the big red states, everyone who wants to get elected to anything joins the GOP. So, naturally, a lot of people who, in a non-red state, would probably be Democrats, join the GOP. It’s the only game in town. Can you tell the difference between Arkansas’s Asa Hutchinson and a Democrat?
But these people dilute the hardcoreness of the party. You get them in office and they do not evolve into something cool. Rather, they devolve into squishes and undercut those who actually are based. Look at Texas. You would think Texas would be positively neanderthal. Nope. The only reason it is as based as it is right now, with rumblings about fighting CRT and the rest of that commie crap, is because Ron DeSantis is over in Florida shaming Governor Greg Abbott into doing something. Governor DeSantis is shaming a lot of folks into moving right; they would be spinning their wheels in moderation (which is synonymous with decline) if he was not embarrassing them by his transcendent basedness.
Florida proves my theory. It was purple. Democrats often won elections. We all remember 2000 – well, you Gen Z people don’t, but you can consult an elder for tales of hanging chads – and the state came within a battalion of voters of going for Al Gore. Florida is red now, but it took work. It took a struggle. It took fighting. No wonder DeSantis is rock hard. He had to be.
So no wonder the red state parties are soft. They can be. But not forever. You know what other state was deep red? The one that gave us Ronald Reagan. California was ultra-mega GOP right up until it wasn’t. Our GOP got soft. It took its dominance for granted. And it nearly got exterminated.
What’s left of the Republicans base in Cali is hard again, and that’s great, but the rest of you red states better watch yourselves. Never, ever, take your red for granted, or the next thing you know you’ll have a socialist human hairstyle for a Democrat governor too.
—Columnist Kurt Schlichter
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – In 1991 U.S. President George H.W. Bush ordered a cease-fire effective at midnight and declared victory in the Persian Gulf War, a conflict triggered by Iraq’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait in August 1990.
THERE ARE THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF FOOD BLOGS, BUT ONLY ONE CULINARY NO-NO!
Haven’t written about pizza in a while. Usually it’s a popular topic on Culinary no-no with a healthy difference of opinion because if you ask 100 consumers you’ll get 648 viewpoints on what’s the best.
Recently Pizza Today released its latest State of the Pizzeria Industry report. Data was compiled after the publication surveyed 750 pizzeria owners from all 50 states and examined national reports and key industry indicators.
Here’s a sampling of what they found. Whether a finding is a no-no depends on how you look at it.
It’s the same old song. Employers need bodies.
From the report:
When asked their top three priorities for 2023, 65 percent of respondents answered, “maintain current business.” 65 percent also answered “grow sales.” 38.7 percent included “add employees.” Aside from sales, the employee issue was the most top of mind.
37.9% have 10 or fewer employees. 22% have 11-12.
29.6% have an average labor cost in the 23-28% range. Another 26.1% carry a labor cost between 29-35%.
When asked if they had to adjust their operating hours due to a shortage of workers, 49% answered “yes.”
In an effort to keep help, 83.2% of pizzeria operators have increased wages. 24.8% upped pay by 4-6% to help offset inflation. Meanwhile, a nearly identical number (24.6%) said they raised salaries by 7-11%.
From the report:
New York-style pizza reigns supreme as the most popular pizza on pizzeria menus across the nation. New York-style pizza has long been the most popular pizza in America. A surprise in the Top 5 pizzas offered in American pizzerias is the Chicago thin. Also called tavern-style pizza, these pies typically feature a crispy crust. They’re also quite often cut into squares.
We asked operators which style they intend to bring on the menu. Detroit is the top style. The square style features a medium-thick crust that’s light and airy on the inside, yet crispy on the outside.
The Top Five Pizza Toppings list has remained the same for the past several years. But this year, a new ingredient has entered the Top 5 — Bacon. The “everything is better with bacon” mantra has made its way to pizza.
Yes, pineapple has found its way onto our Top 20 Pizza Toppings list. The controversial topping has won over consumers to become a permanent fixture on pizzeria offerings.
While not yet on the Top 20, plant-based meats and cheeses are one of the biggest hot trends in pizza toppings. Plant-based ingredients are becoming mainstream on pizza menus. Many other operators are researching and adding plant-based options to their topping offerings.
From the report:
Our pizzeria industry survey is the most expansive and detailed research we’ve ever conducted. More than 750 respondents answereda series of questions designed to yield the most reliable data that paints the most accurate picture of exactly where the industry stands today and where it may be headed.
We turned to our friends from Technomic, Inc. (to poll consumers).
Consumers prefer the build your own pizza option 36% of the time.
33% prefer heavy cheese coverage.
The five most preferred cheeses are, in order: mozzarella, Parmesan, provolone, cheddar, Monterrey Jack.
Only 28% of consumers say they are likely to order dessert pizzas.
Even fewer, 24%, are likely to order breakfast pizzas.
42% find an online ordering system where they can track their pizza order to be appealing.
38% want curbside pickup availability.
23% of American consumers would like to order pizza from their smart TV. That’s a 20% increase from 2020.
Only 19% want to order pizza via QR codes.
21% are willing to pay more for pizza in eco-friendly sustainable packaging. That’s up 18% from 2020.
47% would like more restaurants to offer natural ingredients.
31% would like to see organic ingredients.
22% said they’d like restaurants to offer plant-based items.
Only 23% said they would eat more pizza if healthier options were available.
Meanwhile, 22% said they consider nutritional content when ordering pizza.
45% said the pizzeria they frequent most gets their business because it has the best overall taste.
39% of consumers are ordering takeout or delivery more often than they were pre-pandemic.