TODAY’S NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Briefs are posted every weekday morning, M-F


A woman accused in a grisly killing and dismemberment case in Wisconsin attacked her attorney Tuesday during a court hearing, moments after a judge agreed to delay her trial.

Taylor Schabusiness, 25, was seated in a Brown County circuit court when her attorney, Quinn Jolly, asked the judge for an additional two weeks for a defense expert to review his client’s competency to stand trial.

Moments after Judge Thomas Walsh reluctantly agreed to postpone her March 6 trial, Schabusiness attacked Jolly and was wrestled to the courtroom floor by a deputy, WLUK-TV reported. The courtroom was then cleared before the hearing resumed.

Schabusiness is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, mutilating a corpse and third-degree sexual assault in the killing of Shad Thyrion, 25, in February 2022. Authorities say she strangled Thyrion at a home in Green Bay, sexually abused him and dismembered his body, leaving parts of him throughout the house and in a vehicle.

Schabusiness has pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. She is being held on a $2 million cash bond.

Following her courtroom outburst, the judge moved her competency hearing from Tuesday to March 6. The judge also proposed a May 15 trial date.

At the end of the hearing, Jolly told the court he would file a motion to withdraw from the case as Schabusiness’ attorney but the judge did not immediately rule on that matter.

—Associated Press

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson has long raised doubts over the efficacy of the coronavirus vaccine and pushed debunked theories as he’s questioned the country’s response to the pandemic.

But in the first several weeks of the new Congress, the Wisconsin Republican has made clear just how much of a focus he plans to put on the vaccine and reported instances of injuries resulting from it — often taking positions at odds with the medical community that experts have called misinformation.

“The only reason I ran again, quite honestly, is nobody else is advocating for the vaccine-injured,” Johnson said. “Nobody else is making this point because, by and large, as a society we are in a complete state of denial…”

“But I’m going to be relentless in trying to pursue the truth,” he added, “expose the truth so that we can prevent further harms.”

“The public really didn’t want to hear about it,” Johnson recently told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel when it was noted that he didn’t campaign on advocating for people he thought were injured by the vaccine. “The press certainly didn’t.”

Johnson’s comments indicate the Oshkosh Republican, now re-elected to a third six-year term in Washington, plans to continue to pursue inquiries he’s acknowledged aren’t popular on Capitol Hill and elsewhere.

Still in the minority after Republicans failed to take the Senate in the November midterms, Johnson will put a focus on COVID and probes into the Biden Administration, notably President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and federal agencies like the FBI.

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

In his first on-camera interview since collapsing on the field during a game with the Cincinnati Bengals last month, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin opened up about the sudden cardiac arrest he experienced and how healthcare professionals saved him afterwards. But the clip is going viral for a different reason.

After a long silence, Hamlin refused to say what reason doctors gave him for why, as a healthy and fit athlete, he collapsed to begin with.

“You’re 24, peak physical condition, could run circles around me right now. How did doctors describe what happened to you?” asked Good Morning America host Michael Strahan, a former NFL player.

After pausing for 12 seconds, Hamlin eventually told Strahan, “That’s something I want to stay away from.”

Strahan didn’t push him on that one, but did ask if there were any signs leading up to the health scare.

“Honestly, no,” Hamlin said. “I’ve always been a healthy, young, fit, energetic human being, so it was is something that we’re still processing and I’m still talking through with my doctors to see what everything was.”


Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) scoffed at a question Tuesday about his 2024 ambitions in light of former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s entrance into the political scrum.

DeSantis, who has widely polled as the top GOP hopeful next to former President Donald Trump, has been tight-lipped about his plans but is reportedly mulling a possible summertime campaign launch.

“Nikki Haley announced her presidential run today. Do you plan on following suit,” a reporter asked him at a press conference.

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” DeSantis quipped with a laugh.

Since clinching a second term as governor, DeSantis has been peppered with questions about his presidential ambitions but has strenuously sought to evade such questions and parry any onslaughts from Trump directed his way.

DeSantis has topped Trump in some surveys of the 2024 Republican contest and has been consistently competitive with him. The Florida governor is currently in second place among his 2024 GOP peers, according to the latest Race to the WH polling aggregate.

—Washington Examiner

On Tuesday, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre claimed President Biden is the “the best communicator” in the White House,” sparking laughter across Twitter.

After being questioned by a reporter about whether Biden is viewed by his team as “equally adept in all settings in terms of communications,” Jean-Pierre insisted that the president’s communication skills are the best in his administration.

Many on Twitter balked at Jean-Pierre’s statement. Biden has a long history of being lampooned for his word flubs and sometimes incomprehensible speech at public events. Some also noted that others in his administration, such as the press secretary herself and Vice President Kamala Harris, are infamous for their own verbal gaffes.

Dear America podcast host Graham Allen tweeted a series of scared emojis representing “America” reacting to Jean-Pierre’s claim, “The president is the best communicator that we have in the White House.”

RedState contributor Jeff Charles tweeted, “That explains a lot.”

Fox News personality Tomi Lahren tweeted, “Welp, if this is true we are SCREWED.”

—FOX News

Former MSNBC host Krystal Ball says the network made her get approval before she would be able to do any commentary on Hillary Clinton after she did a monologue criticizing the former secretary of state leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

While on “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast Ball said that when she hosted MSNBC’s “The Cycle,” in 2014, she did a monologue criticizing Clinton as a person who “sold out to Wall Street” and said the public will “hate this lady.”

After the show, Ball said she was told: “‘Great monologue, everything’s fine but next time you do any commentary on Hillary Clinton it has to get approved by the president of the network.'”

—Just the News

A white supremacist is set to be sentenced to life in prison today Wednesday for killing 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket in an attack fueled by racist conspiracy theories he encountered online.

Payton Gendron is scheduled to appear in Erie County Court, where he pleaded guilty in November to charges including murder and domestic terrorism motivated by hate. The terrorism charge carries an automatic life sentence.

Relatives of several victims are expected to speak during the hearing, giving them an opportunity to address the judge and the killer responsible for their sorrow.

Gendron, now 19, wore bullet-resistant armor and a helmet equipped with a livestreaming camera as he carried out the May 14 attack. He killed his victims with a semiautomatic rifle, purchased legally but then modified so he could load it with high-capacity ammunition magazines that are illegal in New York.

There were only three survivors after he shot 13 people, specifically seeking out Black shoppers and workers.

His victims at Tops Friendly Market included a church deacon, the grocery store’s guard, a neighborhood activist, a man shopping for a birthday cake, a grandmother of nine and the mother of a former Buffalo fire commissioner. The victims ranged in age from 32 to 86.

In documents posted online, Gendron said he hoped the attack would help preserve white power in the U.S. He wrote that he picked the Tops grocery store, about a three-hour drive from his home in Conklin, New York, because it was in a predominantly Black neighborhood.

While a life prison sentence is guaranteed for Gendron, he also faces separate federal charges that could carry a death sentence if the U.S. Justice Department chooses to seek it.

—Associated Press

Early in the 2023 legislative session, at least 26 bills have been introduced in 14 states by Republican legislators taking aim at drag events — an abrupt movement that has emerged this year amid a wider conservative backlash to expanded LGBTQ rights.

There’s no recent precedent for the bills, which seek to ban children from drag performances, block the shows from public venues or force locales that host drag events to register as “adult-oriented businesses,” according to LGBTQ advocacy groups.

Behind the spike is a growing conservative objection to a type of performance that has boomed in pop culture in recent years and also expanded to hundreds of libraries through Drag Queen Story Hours, which aim to teach children gender diversity and acceptance through book readings and shows. Many Republican lawmakers pushing the bans say their efforts are aimed at limiting the exposure of children to drag shows — not at the events themselves.

“I am not trying to ban drag shows, and I’m not trying to take away anyone’s First Amendment rights,” Tennessee state Sen. Jack Johnson (R), who filed the first of the recent wave of drag bills on Nov. 9, said in an interview. “But you should be able to take your kids to a public park or library and not be surprised by seeing sexually explicit entertainment taking place.”

“Just like we wouldn’t want strippers on poles in schools — even if their body parts are not exposed — we don’t want drag performers to be present in front of children,” said Idaho Family Policy Center President Blaine Conzatti, who wrote a bill that a Republican state lawmaker plans to introduce this month.

“Drag shows are no place for a child,” said Texas Rep. Bryan Slaton, calling such events “horrifying” and a representation of a “disturbing trend in which perverted adults are obsessed with sexualizing young children.”

But LGBTQ advocates say accusations by some conservatives that drag performers are trying to “recruit” or “groom” children is a familiar trope used by conservatives to generate public fear, which is then leveraged to enact legal restrictions on the LGBTQ community. They say proponents of the drag laws are falsely equating sometimes bawdy events in adult-only venues with family-friendly performances at libraries.

—Washington Post

The price of a dozen eggs in the US exceeded the cost of a pound of ground beef.

The global bird flu has wiped out about 100 million poultry and high production costs have pushed the price of a carton of 12 eggs to a record $4.82 in January, up from less than $2 a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the price of a pound of ground chuck has fallen to $4.64 from a 2022 peak of $5.12 last August.


00:02 / 00:16

We reached out to health experts to find out which perks of bathing may convince you to swap your shower for a soak—and found out that regular baths can enhance your health in ways that showers don’t. The four biggest benefits of baths:

1 Baths promote exfoliation and support skin health.

Soaking in a tub can help hydrate, cleanse, and even exfoliate your skin. “People who take showers tend to spend only a few minutes under running water to rinse off the lather,” says Nancy Mitchell, RN, a registered nurse and a contributing writer at Assisted Living. “However, taking a bath requires you to soak in the water for an extended period. This allows the water to lift dirt and dead cells off your skin surface,” she says.

2 Baths can improve circulation and help relax your muscles.

If you suffer from sore or strained muscles, taking regular warm or hot baths could help you soothe them. “Soaking in a warm bath can help to relax the muscles and ease any aches and pains,” says Elliott Torsney, a certified personal trainer for Den of Fitness and a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Tennessee.

3 Baths can help you de-stress.

We all know the feeling of sinking into a hot bath after a long, stressful day. Torsney says this is a great way to reduce stress levels and improve your mental well-being.

4 Baths can improve your sleep.

Thanks to their de-stressing effects, taking a hot bath at night could also help you enjoy a better night’s rest, some studies show. “Taking a warm bath before bed can help to relax the body and mind, making it easier to fall asleep,” says Torsney.

—Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant

A Polish mother of seven has successfully given birth to premature quintuplets, hospital officials in southern Poland said Tuesday.

The two boys and three girls were born through cesarean section Sunday, in the pregnancy’s 28th week, at the University Hospital in Krakow.

Weighing between 710-1,400 grams (25-49 ounces,) they were all put in incubators and given breathing support, but doctors said they are all doing fine, given their premature birth.

The quintuplets’ mother, Dominika Clarke, 37, told a news conference in Krakow Tuesday that she was feeling “much better than I had expected.”

“If you have a system, a calm approach and a positive attitude, then it is possible to have a really cool life with such a large bunch of children,” Clarke said.

Clarke and her British husband’s other children are aged between 10 months and 12 years, and include two pairs of twins.

—Associated Press


There’s something kind of sad, in a pathetic way, in witnessing the disillusionment of true (BLM) believers finding out they’ve been conned by the very movement they helped push forward.

Such has been the case in recent weeks, between Rihanna’s “sellout” half-time performance at the Super Bowl and the muted response (i.e. no deadly rioting) to the death of Tyre Nichols, leaving some of the Black Lives Matter faithful with heavy hearts.

The Washington Post’s resident race hustler Karen Attiah on Monday bemoaned Rihanna’s “selling out” by performing at the Super Bowl. The ungrateful immigrant singer had said in 2019 that she turned down a previous invitation from the NFL because, “For what? Who gains from that? Not my people. I just couldn’t be a sellout. I couldn’t be an enabler.” She was presumably referring to the league’s punishment of Colin Kaepernick and others who protested by kneeling during the national anthem on game days.

“With Rihanna’s performance and her silence on the issues she claims to have stood for, the true winner of the night was the NFL,” wrote Attiah. “She has shown them, and all racist institutions, that if they can withstand Black protest and outrage for a few years, put on some cool shows and donate to charities, then everything will be hunky-dory…”

Charles Blow wrote similarly in The New York Times last month after a national story about a young black man who died in police custody, following his attempt to flee arrest. Arrests were made of the officers involved, all of them black, and they’ve been charged with the death of Tyre Nichols. This is formerly known as “the judicial process,” but because Nichols’ death didn’t result in another round of calls for reparations and the eternal subjugation of whites, Blow was miffed.

“It was more snuff porn with Black victims, in a country becoming desensitized to the violence because of its sheer volume,” he wrote. “America — and the world — had the realization that police violence was a problem, and then it simply walked away before the work was done and the war was won. … What fell away were the evanescent allies, poll-chasing politicians and cooped-up Covid kids who had used the protests as an opportunity to congregate.”

Wait a second. You mean to tell me the 2020 summer of horror was a manufactured hysteria for political purposes and that once its goal was achieved — the unseating of Donald Trump as president — it all seemed to disappear? No way!

Cold reality is finally setting in. Santa isn’t real after all.

Blow and Attiah might be the last people in America to realize that BLM as a national entity is nothing but a scam — even in the literal sense of the word, as endless stories have come out since 2020 exposing the group’s leaders as frauds and money embezzlers using innocent donations to enrich themselves with expensive homes and private jet travel.

—Eddie Scarry is the D.C. columnist at The Federalist

Doctors and nurses are not racists. They’re everyday heroes. But left-wing activists and their media allies, including The New York Times, blame healthcare workers for black patients’ poorer health outcomes. That’s a cheap shot and a lie.

The New York Times published a front-page story Sunday showing that black women die during childbirth or lose their newborns more often than white women. Even affluent black women and their babies die at higher rates. Money doesn’t insulate them from worse health outcomes.

The actual analysis didn’t blame racism for what happens to black mothers or include any evidence — not a shred — that doctors and nurses caring for pregnant women and newborns are racist.

Even so, the Times pushed the conclusion that higher death rates are the “effects of racism” because minority mothers are “treated differently and given different access to interventions.” That’s false, though it’s being cited and repeated widely.

What is to blame? Obesity, early teen pregnancy and hypertension (high blood pressure) are major causes of the higher death rates. These problems demand our attention.

But many activists would rather exploit the race card for political gain than deal with the causes of these deaths. Mary Bassett, New York state health commissioner until last month, is one of them. Urging support for national reparations, Basset argues they “can bring us closer” to “end[ing] racial health inequities.” That’s ridiculous.

Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York and the Rochester Black Nurses Association sponsored a Zoom presentation accusing nurses of deliberately not answering the call buttons of black patients and warning about “KKK in the hospitals.”

Falsehoods like these could scare black women from getting the prenatal and postpartum care they need and currently fail to seek.

The Times article never mentions the actual causes of infant mortality, starting with obesity. A baby born to an obese mother faces a 55% higher risk of dying within a year, per National Vital Statistics. Obesity is most prevalent among the black population.

Teen pregnancy is the other major infant killer. Black and Hispanic teens are more than twice as likely to give birth as white teens. Unfortunately, teens often don’t seek prenatal care. They also lack the pelvic structure to carry babies to term, so their babies tend to be born prematurely.

This push for anti-racism in medicine will not save the lives of black infants or their mothers. Doctors and nurses will, doing what they always do, treating each patient with respect, regardless of skin color. They are heroes.

—Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths

We need to torpedo this idea that slaves built this country. While it’d be unrealistic to say they weren’t a part of the nation’s development, putting them as the prime constructors of an entire nation is like saying the guy who crafted the axle at the car factory built your vehicle. He was definitely a part of it, but he hardly gets to take full credit.

So many kinds of people came to the new world and worked their own land, built their own towns, and established their own societies without the help of slaves. For one, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade transported well over 12 million slaves, but only a little over 300,000 made their way into the United States. This didn’t happen all at once. Slavery did officially begin in 1619, but it began with just over 20 slaves.

To think that over the course of time that singular group of people built an entire nation — even a burgeoning one — by themselves is the height of fantasy.

The slave population would later balloon to around four million by the time the emancipation proclamation was signed in 1863, and while that number is tragically large, it doesn’t mean that there was a slave for every family. The vast majority of slaves were held in the agrarian south and even then, only around 25 percent of the south was wealthy enough to own slaves.

Meanwhile, the slave-free north continued to outpace the south by leaps and bounds according to Warfare in the Western World:

“In 1860 the North had over 110,000 manufacturing establishments, the South just 18,000. The North produced 94 percent of the country’s iron, 97 percent of is coal and – not incidentally – 97 percent of its firearms. It contained 22,000 miles of railroad to the South’s 8,500. The North outperformed the South agriculturally as well. Northerners held 75 percent of the country’s farm acreage, produced 60 percent of its livestock, 67 percent of its corn, and 81 percent of its wheat. All in all, they held 75 percent of the nation’s total wealth.”

These stats immediately wreck the idea that “slaves built this country.” Not only did the north succeed greatly without them, but the majority of the south also didn’t have them.

The idea that white people were sitting in rocking chairs sipping tea while black people did all the work from 1619 to 1863 is, frankly, stupid. It dismisses the blood, sweat, and tears of many different kinds of people, including Mexicans, Germans, Irish, Chinese, and more. It purposely shoves aside the industriousness of an entire country looking to build a new world and make something for itself.

This leads me to the idea that reparations are owed to the black population of the United States by the taxpayers of this country.

No. No one owes anything to anyone for the atrocity that is slavery. For one, no one alive today was around to commit that sin or have that sin be committed upon them. Whatever guilt there was for it has long since died off. White people alive today are not guilty of what a percentage of white people did long ago.

—Brandon Morse, Deputy Managing Editor, Red State

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – In 1933 an assassin’s bullet meant for the U.S. president-elect, Franklin D. Roosevelt, wounded Mayor Anton J. Cermak of Chicago, who died three weeks later.

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