NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Thursday, February 16, 2023

Briefs are posted every weekday morning, M-F


The Milwaukee area will be under a winter storm warning for 12 hours on Thursday, as a winter storm approaches that could bring up to 10 inches of snow.

Most of southeastern Wisconsin is under the warning including Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Waukesha, Washington, Racine and Kenosha counties.

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service expect 6 to 10 inches of snow, after initially remaining optimistic that the storm would miss the area. The winter storm watch was upgraded to a warning just before 2 p.m. Wednesday.

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

There are 80 million Americans across 25 states on alert for severe weather as a major winter storm is expected to bring heavy snow, high winds and a threat for tornadoes from Colorado to Alabama through Thursday.

Winter storm warnings stretch from New Mexico to Illinois for a swath of heavy snow. High wind warnings remain in effect across the Southwest and wind advisories are in effect across the Great Lakes.

—ABC News

All Wisconsin employees would be able to take up to three months of a paid leave of absence for family and medical reasons under a new program Gov. Tony Evers proposed Wednesday as part of a $103.8 billion two-year spending plan that would also cut taxes for the middle-class, legalize marijuana, spend $290 million to keep the Milwaukee Brewers in Wisconsin and provide the largest funding increase for schools in state history.

The Democratic governor’s 2023-25 state budget sets up a new battle with Republicans who want to enact bigger tax cuts and want to spend significantly less than what Evers is proposing.

Evers in a primetime address Wednesday said the spending levels in the budget plan reflect the opportunity a record $7.1 billion budget surplus presents to the state.

“This is a breakthrough budget, one that has rarely — if ever — come along in our state’s history. And with this opportunity comes responsibility — today, we carry the weight of posterity,” Evers said. “While we must find ways to save where we can, we have a duty to invest in needs that have long been neglected. While we cannot afford to be careless or reckless, we have a duty to protect the future we’ve worked hard to build together. While we must continue to stay well within our means, we have a duty to create prosperity that will define our state for generations.”

Evers’ spending plan creates more than 800 new positions within state government and would spend significantly more than the state receives in tax revenue in the second year of the budget, making the full proposal difficult to sustain in the future.

“When you add up the entire budget, it’s the largest increase in spending in the history of Wisconsin. Some ways I felt like was watching Oprah Winfrey — a billion for you, a billion for you, a billion for you,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said.

“While there are some areas in Gov. Evers’ budget that I’m sure we can find common ground, our solutions are going to look dramatically different,” Vos said. “At the end of the day, this is an unrealistic solution for what Wisconsin needs to solve its problems. It is a budget that is absolutely devoid of reality.”

But there are signs of agreement on one idea: Using about 20% of state sales tax revenue for local government services, an idea first floated by Republican lawmakers.

But Republican leaders said Wednesday they would be crafting a new proposal to accomplish the same goal that would not raise property taxes at levels Evers’ plan reaches.

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

President Joe Biden’s former non-binary nuclear waste official was released without bail on luggage theft charges.

Sam Brinton walked out scott free of a Minnesota courthouse on Wednesday after a preliminary hearing for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars worth of women’s clothing from suitcases at airports.

The judge, who referred to the non-binary cross-dresser as “Mx. Brinton,” ordered him not to contact any victims. He faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine if found guilty.

The hearing was initially scheduled for December 19 but was postponed until February 15 following a request from Brinton’s defense counsel. The ex-Biden official reportedly asked the judge to allow him to attend the hearing virtually, arguing that Brinton was dealing with “employment issues” and that the case had gained much media attention. However, the judge rejected the request.

His latest theft occurred on September 16 at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, where he removed a tag from a woman’s suitcase, walking out with it in his hand. The items inside allegedly were worth $2,325.


More than one dozen state attorneys general put President Joe Biden on notice Wednesday with a letter slamming his State of the Union call for an “unconstitutional” ban on “assault weapons,” led by Montana AG Austin Knudsen.

Knudsen — along with attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming — slammed Biden for his “irresponsible and unconstitutional demand that Congress ban firearms commonly used by law-abiding Americans for self-defense.”

The attorneys general put Biden on notice that, “with every tool at our disposal, we will oppose your attempt to trample on Americans’ fundamental right to defend themselves with guns.”


The U.S. government has been secretly tracking those who didn’t get the COVID jab, as well as those who aren’t up to date on their shots. Worse, it is recording the reason why. Now that the program has been widely adopted, know why it’s being done and how you can outsmart it.

• The U.S. government has secretly been tracking those who didn’t get the COVID jab, or are only partially jabbed, through a previously unknown surveillance program designed by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

• The program was implemented on April 1, 2022, and adopted by most medical clinics and hospitals across the United States starting January 2023.

• Under this program, doctors at clinics and hospitals have been instructed to ask patients about their vaccination status, which is then added to their electronic medical records as a diagnostic code, known as ICD-10 code, so that they can be tracked inside and outside of the medical system.

• These new ICD-10 codes are part of the government’s plan to implement medical tyranny using vaccine passports and digital IDs.

• The government is also tracking noncompliance with all other recommended vaccines using new ICD-10 codes, and has implemented codes to describe WHY you didn’t get a recommended vaccine. It’s also added a billable ICD code for “vaccine safety counseling.”

—The Epoch Times

Actress Raquel Welch, who rose to fame as a sex symbol of the 1960s, died Wednesday after a brief illness. She was 82.

“Raquel Welch, the legendary bombshell actress of film, television and stage, passed away peacefully early this morning after a brief illness,” her rep said in a statement Wednesday to The Post.

“The 82-year-old actress burst into Hollywood in her initial roles in [‘One Million Years B.C.’] and ‘Fantastic Voyage.’ Her career spanned over 50 years starring in over 30 films and 50 television series and appearances. The Golden Globe winner, in more recent years, was involved in a very successful line of wigs. Raquel leaves behind her two children, son Damon Welch and her daughter, Tahnee Welch.”

Her long resume also includes “Bedazzled,” “Myra Breckinridge” and a memorable turn on the sitcom “Seinfeld.” But it was her breakout role in the 1966 sci-fi movie “Fantastic Voyage” that made her a household name and cemented her sex symbol status.

Welch was a two-time Golden Globe nominee, winning a Globe in 1975 for best actress in a musical or comedy movie for “The Three Musketeers,” which also starred Faye Dunaway and Charlton Heston.

“My first day on set, Faye Dunaway comes over to me all dolled up, and she was so cute. She said, ‘Darling, I just want you to know, I’m a big fan of yours. But don’t you know, they’re all just waiting for us to tear each other’s eyes out. So let’s have fun with them,’” Welch recalled to The Post a decade ago.

“Everyone on set was going, ‘Uh-oh, here they come,’ standing there watching. And Faye gets out her fan and starts fanning herself, saying, ‘Darling, I adore your work.’ And I say, ‘Everything you do is genius!’ Everyone was so disappointed.”

Welch instantly became a pin-up girl when she wore a deerskin bikini in the 1966 movie “One Million Years B.C.” Despite her sex symbol status, she viewed herself differently.

“I was happy that I had got a break so I could have my career, but at the same time, it was like: ’This isn’t me. But this is what I have to do because this is my ticket to ride,’” she wrote of her “One Million Years B.C.” role in her memoir, “Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage.”

“I’m not in a position to just say: ‘Oh, no, wait a minute. You’ve got it all wrong. I’d like to do Shakespeare.’”

Welch was named one of the “100 Sexiest Stars in Film History” by Empire magazine in 1995.

Hugh Hefner, the creator and curator of the Playboy empire, once said she was the “woman that I most wanted to have in the magazine” because she seemed “ageless.”

“Raquel Welch, one of the last of the classic sex symbols, came from the era when you could be considered the sexiest woman in the world without taking your clothes off,” Hefner wrote in “Playboy: The Celebrities.”

Hefner continued, “She declined to do complete nudity, and I yielded gracefully. The pictures prove her point.”

—NY Post


On Sunday afternoon, I got a text from my mother-in-law. She had just seen a news alert that the Federal Aviation Administration and North American Air Defense had temporarily closed the airspace over Lake Michigan. My husband’s parents live near the lake and were a bit concerned.

“Do I need to go to the basement??” she wrote.

She was largely kidding, but at the same time, I think my mother-in-law hit on the unease most of us have felt in recent days, as the United States keeps encountering these unidentified objects in the sky.

The object that caused concern over Lake Michigan apparently then floated over the state before a fighter jet shot it down over Lake Huron – closer to the side of the state where I live.

It’s all getting a little too close to home.

President Joe Biden owes the country an explanation. This latest incident marks the third object that had to be shot down over North America in three days – and the fourth since the United States took out the Chinese spy balloon off the South Carolina coast Feb. 4 (after it was allowed to float across the country for a week, gathering intelligence as it flew over nuclear missile silos and military bases).

It’s unclear whether these latest “objects” are also Chinese, but that seems a fair guess. And it’s alarming what that country’s intentions could be.

We’ve not yet heard anything that direct from Biden.

Biden owes us answers.

Are we in any danger of war? Should we expect these unidentified flights to continue? Are there any risks to commercial air travel? What does the United States plan to do to ward off these threats?

No doubt, the federal government is still collecting information about these objects, but in the meantime, our president should address the country directly, with the seriousness the situation deserves.

— Ingrid Jacques is a columnist at USA TODAY

It turned out that the vaccine didn’t work like it was supposed to. Whoops. And there was another big failure. The lockdowns didn’t actually stop the virus. Not only that, they utterly crushed everything we call society, leaving not only economic destruction in their wake but also cultural collapse and awful public health

Now we have an extremely robust study that sizes up the effect in a range of areas. The study is “Freedom Wins: States with Less Restrictive COVID Policies Outperformed States with More Restrictive COVID Policies” by Joel M. Zinberg, Brian Blase, Eric Sun, and Casey B. Mulligan, as published by the Paragon Health Institute.

Here is the summary:

“Our results show that more severe government interventions, as measured by the Oxford index, did not significantly improve health outcomes (age-adjusted and pre-existing-condition adjusted COVID mortality and all-cause excess mortality) in states that imposed them relative to states that imposed less restrictive measures. But the severity of the government response was strongly correlated with worse economic (increased unemployment and decreased GDP) and educational (days of in-person schooling) outcomes and with a worse overall COVID outcomes score that equally weighted the health, economic, and educational outcomes.

“We also used Census data on domestic migration to examine whether government pandemic measures affected state-to-state migration decisions. We compared the net change in migration into or out of states in the pandemic period between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2022, with the migration patterns over five pre-pandemic years. There was a substantial increase in domestic migration during the pandemic compared to pre-pandemic trends. There was also a significant negative correlation between states’ government response measures and states’ net pandemic migration, suggesting that people fled states with more severe lockdowns and moved to states with less severe measures.”

In conclusion:

“Severe government measures did little to lower COVID-19 deaths or excess mortality from all causes. Indeed, government measures appear to have increased excess mortality from non-COVID health conditions. Yet the severity of these measures negatively affected economic performance as measured by unemployment and GDP and education as measured by access to in-person schooling. States such as Florida and countries such as Sweden that took more restrained approaches and focused protection efforts on the most medically vulnerable populations had superior economic and educational outcomes at little or no health cost. The evidence suggests that in future pandemics policymakers should avoid severe, prolonged, and generalized restrictions and instead carefully tailor government responses to specific disease threats, encouraging state and local governments to balance the health benefits against the economic, educational, health, and social costs of specific response measures.”

This is the evidence we have based on the data we have. It is sadly not surprising. The lockdowns did not improve health outcomes. They did devastate economic outcomes. And economics is part of health which in turn is a reflection of the quality of life. The same results pertain however we shuffle the data: adjusting by age, adjusting by population, adjusting by population density. The conclusion is completely undeniable. Lockdowns were a disaster and they achieved nothing in terms of their stated purpose.

— Jeffrey A. Tucker is Founder and President of the Brownstone Institute

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data showing that our nation’s young girls are in a state of absolute emotional and mental crisis. According to the CDC, 57% of high school girls said they were depressed in 2021, compared with 36% in 2011; 30% said they had considered suicide, compared with 19% in 2011. The numbers had also increased markedly for high school boys: 29% of high school boys reported depressive symptoms, up from 21% in 2011; 14% of high school boys had considered suicide, up from 13% a decade before.

Naturally, our nation’s pseudoscientific experts blame societal intolerance and lack of sexual sensitivity.

No, says the CDC, the problem — as always — is with society’s demands. As The Wall Street Journal reports, the CDC recommends “teaching kids about sexual consent, managing emotions, and asking for what they need”; furthermore, “Schools should encourage gender and sexuality alliances, provide safe spaces and people for LGBTQ+ students to go to for support, and ensure enforcement of antiharassment policies.”

Yes, the answer to five decades of social Leftism resulting in two generations unmoored from mental health is… more social Leftism!

We have robbed young women of any sense of place, time or purpose: we’ve told them that they need not seek out a husband, aspire to bear and rear children or make preparations to build a home. Instead, we’ve told them that they can run from their own biology, declaring themselves boys rather than girls, delaying childbearing indefinitely, pursuing the things that are supposedly truly important: sexual license, more work hours, sipping wine at brunch with single friends.

We have done all of this because children do not lie at the top of our civilizational hierarchy: the interests of adults do. Increasingly, adults in the West see children as either a burden and thus avoid having them, or as validators of their own sense of subjective self-identity, requiring indoctrination into more liberal forms of social organization.

And now children are paying the price.

—Ben Shapiro

The Kansas City Chiefs have been crowned 2022 NFL champions after winning Super Bowl 57. As such, they also finish atop this season’s final power rankings … though we allowed for some leeway to look ahead while also assessing the past few months.

1. Chiefs: Scary times for the league’s 31 other clubs as it’s perfectly legitimate to suggest that a dynastic window is just now opening for QB Patrick Mahomes and the Super Bowl champs, who weren’t even overly reliant on their talented youngsters this season – though several delivered in a big way on Sunday.

10. Lions: Look who owns multiple first-round picks (including No. 6) and has free agency bucks to burn coming off a surprisingly strong 2022 campaign fueled in great part by a stellar rookie class. No dark horse label in 2023, but things are looking up.

15. Vikings: While it’s usually hard to quibble with a 13-win season, it’s nearly indisputable that almost everything broke in Minnesota’s favor in 2022 … until postseason arrived.

23. Packers: Good luck finding a more difficult team to slot. But truth is, even with Rodgers in the fold, they weren’t very good in 2022 – reason enough to think hard about initiating the Jordan Love era.

25. Bears: No team is projected to have more money to throw at free agents than Chicago – though even if GM Ryan Poles maxes out his cap, he’ll probably still have several roster deficiencies.

—Nate Davis, USA TODAY

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – In 1964 the Beatles scored their first No.1 album in America with Meet The Beatles! which stayed at No.1 for eleven weeks and sold over four million copies in one year

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