TODAY’S NEWS BRIEFS – Friday,  January 3, 2023

Briefs are posted weekday mornings, M-F

Along with the 2024 Republican National Convention, Milwaukee will also host a presidential primary debate, bringing even more national exposure to the city.

After some speculation, newly re-elected Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel confirmed Thursday a debate will be a precursor to the 2024 convention.

“You should be able to expect that we’ll have a debate here in Milwaukee,” McDaniel said, during the host committee kick off event at 3rd Street Market Hall.

McDaniel wouldn’t say if the debate would be the first for the candidates.

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The countdown to the 2024 Republican National Convention in Milwaukee has begun.

On Thursday, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel came to Milwaukee to check in on preparations and meet with business leaders for a kick off, launching the major push for next year’s big political show.

“For us, this is the perfect place to highlight our nominee for the 2024 presidential campaign,” McDaniel said during a news conference. “It is also the perfect place to provide the best delegate experience for people coming from across the country, across the territories.”

McDaniel acknowledged that Wisconsin is a “battleground state,” but added, “we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the wonderful city of Milwaukee.”

“You really do have a city that shines,” McDaniel said, as she lauded Milwaukee’s political and business leadership. “And I am so excited to bring the world into Milwaukee, not just for the Republican Party but to help businesses and business owners and to highlight the bipartisan effort to do great things for this urban community.”

Here’s what to know about the convention:

When is the 2024 Republican National Convention?

The convention will be held July 15-18, 2024.

Where will the convention be held in Milwaukee?

Fiserv Forum will be the center of action, with a newly expanded Wisconsin Center also a major venue.

Where will the delegates stay for the RNC?

Delegates and their guests will stay at hotels within 30 minutes of Fiserv Forum, with up to 50,000 visitors, including media, expected for the event. A Chicago-based company is contracting with more than 300 motels and hotels within a 60-mile radius of Fiserv Forum.

—The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Wisconsin Election Commission unanimously approved on Thursday the results of a hand-count audit of the November election, which found that voting machines worked as intended.

Auditors inspected 222,075 ballots — the largest audit in state history — and found only six errors, all caused by humans. They found no signs of hacking, programming errors or machine malfunctions during the midterm.

—Wisconsin AP

Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz is focusing her campaign for the state Supreme Court on her belief that women should be able to choose whether to continue pregnancies and has characterized the state’s Republican-written legislative maps as “rigged” — partisan appeals to voters that are turning heads in a nonpartisan election.

Her outspoken campaign escalates a long-used strategy of Supreme Court candidates signaling to voters their partisan leanings, commenting on issues that could land before the court in the coming months.

Protasiewicz’s comments have drawn criticism from conservative opponent Dan Kelly, who has called Protasiewicz an activist who is “a danger to our liberties” and prompted the state GOP to file a complaint with the Wisconsin Judicial Commission alleging Protasiewicz has violated judicial ethics rules.

But Protasiewicz’s approach also is not unique. Dane County Judge Everett Mitchell, a liberal candidate, also has criticized the state’s legislative maps and signaled support for restoring abortion access. Kelly and fellow conservative candidate Jennifer Dorow, a Waukesha County Judge, have promoted endorsements from anti-abortion groups in their campaigns for a seat on the court that is all but certain to hear a lawsuit filed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul seeking to repeal the state’s abortion ban.

Robert Yablon, a professor and co-director of the State Democracy Research Initiative at the University of Wisconsin Law School, said Protasiewicz’s comments reflect a campaign practice utilized by Supreme Court candidates in past races and have so far not crossed a legal line.

“My sense is that the statements that she’s making are not different in kind from the kinds of statements that other candidates have made in our recent elections,” Yablon said, noting he does not have an exhaustive list of every comment she has made while campaigning. “And also that she is trying to be mindful of the judicial ethics rules and staying on the right side of that boundary by avoiding making specific pledges or promises or commitments about how she could decide specific cases or issues that might come before the court.”

“She is talking sometimes forthrightly about her opinions on disputed issues, sharing her values. But there is a recognized difference legally between doing that and going further and actually making specific promises or commitments.”

Mark Jefferson, Republican Party of Wisconsin executive director, said in a statement Protasiewicz’s comments show she “clearly must recuse herself from participating in cases involving redistricting, abortion and Act 10 union reforms because she’s absolutely unwilling to hear them with an open mind.”

“Janet Protasiewicz has decided to disregard her obligation to abide by the Code of Judicial Conduct in her pursuit of a place on the Supreme Court,” he said.

Kelly, Protasiewicz, Dorow and Mitchell are competing in a Feb. 21 primary. The top two finishers will advance to the April 4 general election that will determine the ideological leaning of the court for at least two years. Mitchell, like Protasiewicz, campaigns with support of Democrats and Dorow, like Kelly, is running as a conservative.

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. plans to invest more than $500 million to redevelop its downtown Milwaukee campus, with nearly 2,000 employees eventually relocating there from the company’s Franklin operations, the company announced Thursday.

That would help boost Northwestern Mutual’s downtown workforce to at least 5,750 employees by 2030. That comes during a time when fewer people are based at urban offices throughout the nation because of remote work’s increased use.

“We are doubling down on our Milwaukee campus,” said Northwestern Mutual Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer John Schlifske. The company is downtown’s largest employer with 4,480 workers.

Northwestern Mutual would be the latest in a series of large Milwaukee-area businesses that are shifting operations from the suburbs to the downtown area. Executives say downtown locations help them better attract and retain employees − especially younger ones who are more drawn to urban locations.

The roughly 2,000 employees from the Franklin campus, at South 27th Street and West Drexel Avenue, are to relocate to the downtown complex over the next three to five years.

Northwestern Mutual’s Franklin campus, featuring two six-story office buildings totaling more than 880,000 square feet, could eventually be available for sale or lease after the employees relocate to downtown.

The company opened the Franklin buildings in 2004 and 2008. The company said then the development’s tab totaled $210 million, with the City of Franklin providing a TIF district.

Northwestern Mutual said in 2001 it was moving some operations to Franklin. It wanted a site far enough from the downtown campus to serve as a backup computer center as the company expanded into new financial products.

Then-President and CEO Ed Zore said Northwestern Mutual was buying enough land in Franklin to meet its growth for the next 10 to 20 years. The 80-acre site includes 16 acres remaining for future development.

The Franklin campus has served Northwestern Mutual well, said Schlifske, who succeeded Zore in 2010.

But, he said, changes in technology, including the use of cloud computing, meant the company no longer needed a redundant data facility.

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The U.S. government is monitoring a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that has been moving over northern states over the past several days.

Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said during a briefing on Thursday afternoon that the U.S. government has detected a high-altitude surveillance balloon over the continental U.S.

“The United States government has detected and is tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now. The U.S. government to include Norad, continues to track and monitor it closely. The balloon is currently traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground. Instances of this kind of balloon activity have been observed previously over the past several years. Once the balloon was detected, the U.S. government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information,” Ryder said.

A senior defense official said that the U.S. government is “confident” that the surveillance balloon belongs to the People’s Republic of China.

The defense official said that the balloon was recently over Montana and that officials were considering bringing it down with military assets, but they decided against doing so because of the risks associated, adding that President Joe Biden was briefed on the situation and asked for military options.

A well-placed senior U.S. official told Fox News that the government is still considering a variety of options with how to deal with the Chinese spy balloon, saying that the options presented to Biden and his national security team included concerns that if the military did shoot down the balloon, there could be civilian casualties the ground.

The White House hasn’t ruled out shooting the balloon down if it were deemed safe to do so, according to the source.

—FOX News

President Joe Biden can skip the annual State of the Union address because Americans have already sized up life in the country — and it’s not good.

In a series of polls gauging the public’s view of the state of the nation, Americans have flashed a firm thumbs down, especially with the direction of the economy, the administration, and government overall.

And Thursday, the latest Gallup poll revealed that the nation is in the third year of a funk, dating back to the start of the COVID crisis.

“Americans’ assessment of the state of the nation remains in the pandemic-era slump seen since 2021, marked by subdued satisfaction with 30 different aspects of the country,” said the analysis of Gallup’s “Mood of the Nation” survey.

Gallup’s poll, headlined “Americans Still Glum About State of the Union in Most Areas,” follows others that have shown huge majorities dissatisfied with the economy.

A McLaughlin & Associates survey said that voters are in “a bad mood,” and appear likely to stay that way through the 2024 election.

In their analysis, John and Jim McLaughlin said, “There is no optimism — only a very, very bad mood.”

Gallup only found the public’s mood good in two areas. Some 65% liked the quality of life, down a bit from last year, and 61% said Americans have an opportunity to get ahead if they work hard.

But the down arrows overwhelmed those positives. For example, just 33% are satisfied with the size and power of the government, 20% are satisfied with the moral and ethical climate, and a tiny 25% are good with the state of the economy.

—The Washington Examiner

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders will deliver the response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address next week, Republican leaders announced on Thursday.

Sanders, a former Trump White House Press Secretary and the daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, became governor of that state in her own right in November, becoming the first woman to hold the position.

Sanders in a statement to media said she was “grateful for this opportunity to address the nation and contrast the GOP’s optimistic vision for the future against the failures of President Biden and the Democrats.”

“We are ready to begin a new chapter in the story of America,” she went on, “to be written by a new generation of leaders ready to defend our freedom against the radical left and expand access to quality education, jobs, and opportunity for all.”

—Just the News

MAGA Representative Lauren Boebert believes Americans owning less than 50% of the world’s guns is a disappointing statistic and “we need to get our numbers up.”

Boebert made the hilarious comments (which of course have the left clutching pearls) during a floor speech condemning a new mandate by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) requiring gun owners to register firearms with pistol braces.

Boebert’s colleague, Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, introduced a bill that would abolish the ATF in response to the ruling on pistol braces that make a number of gun owners criminals overnight.

In her speech, the Colorado Republican echoed The Political Insider’s Dr. Derek Ellerman who suggested ‘Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms’ should be the name of a convenience store.

“Alcohol, tobacco, and firearms,” she said. “In western Colorado, we call that a fun weekend.”

The congresswoman also noted that “gun-free zones are the most dangerous places in our country.”

Boebert then suggested not enough Americans are taking advantage of their right to bear arms.

“The Second Amendment is absolute and it’s here to stay. A recent report states that Americans own 46% of the world’s guns,” she said. “I think we need to get our numbers up, boys and girls.”

Lauren Boebert’s unbridled exuberance in defending gun ownership in America has sometimes raised the ire of the left to hilarious effect.

She drew a little heat from anti-gun Democrats after a Zoom call with other lawmakers in 2021 in which guns were sitting on a shelf behind her.

“I always thought my dirty dishes piled up and accumulating bacteria were the most dangerous thing in a Zoom background,” scoffed Rep. Katie Porter at the time.

Boebert fired back in epic fashion, “Do your dishes, Hon.”

—The Political Insider

A large majority of American workers drove a car, truck or van—alone—to their place of work in 2021, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Nationwide, according to the bureau, 67.8 percent of workers 16 and older traveled to work in a car, truck or van that they drove in alone.

There was only one state in the nation where a majority did not drive to work alone. That was New York, where only 49.2 percent drove to work alone.

WI ranked 20th with 73.4 percent of motorists driving to work alone.

—CNS News

Obesity has become a prevalent chronic disease in recent years. According to data from the World Health Organization, more than one billion people worldwide suffer from obesity. The global rate of obesity has nearly tripled from 1975 to 2016, raising many concerns worldwide. The good news is that studies have found that “frequent walking” has a significant effect on the prevention of obesity.

Zheng Jie, a doctor of medicine at the University of Tokyo, Japan, mentioned in an interview with The Epoch Times that the mortality rates are closely associated with levels of obesity. That is, mortality rates increase substantially with the increase in obesity.

According to scientific research data published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, forty-year-old male and female nonsmokers lost nearly six or seven years of life expectancy due to obesity.

A report published in the journal Nature Medicine in October 2022, showed that the risk of obesity and other chronic diseases is associated with the number of “steps per day.” Vanderbilt Institute of Clinical and Translational Research, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, conducted the research.

Results showed that the risk of being overweight decreases significantly as the number of steps increases.

Research published in the journal JAMA Neurology in October 2022 also found that daily step counts of approximately 9,800 are the best option for lowering the risk of dementia.

As for the best time for walking outdoors, Zheng suggests about half an hour after eating. As an old saying goes: “100 steps after dinner, live to 99.” Appropriate walking after dinner, can stimulate the peristalsis of the intestines and stomach, promote food digestion, and also has a role in the consumption of body heat.

—The Epoch Times

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – In 1959, American rock ‘n’ roll singer Buddy Holly was killed in a plane crash at age 22. Holly died alongside his fellow Rock-and-roll stars Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson.

Photo: The body of one of the singers killed is seen on the ground after the 1959 crash.

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