NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Friday, March 3, 2023

Briefs are posted every weekday morning, M-F


WISN-TV (Channel 12) chief meteorologist Mark Baden wants his viewers to know one thing about the two bright lights that appeared in the sky Wednesday night.

“I promise it wasn’t aliens.”

They weren’t UFOS, or rogue spy balloons, or extraterrestrial beings taking a peek at Earth.

Just the planets Venus and Jupiter, appearing closer together than usual, because of how their orbits lined up.

It’s something that “just happens,” Baden said.

Scientists would say the two planets are “in conjunction.” The romantically inclined might say they shared a cosmic kiss.

Baden said the WISN-TV newsroom received close to 100 calls Wednesday night from viewers alarmed at the sight.

Some didn’t accept the explanation that the lights were just planets doing their thing. They were convinced they were UFOs — or more spy balloons from China.

“People have fast imaginations and they couldn’t understand that this could be something that just occurs,” Baden said. “People just don’t take scientific explanations very well anymore.”

TV reporters and meteorologists around Milwaukee posted online about the barrage of calls coming into their newsrooms.

Some even called 911. In one case, a dispatcher directed a Milwaukee County Sheriff’s deputy working the overnight shift to a location near the airport after a caller spotted two lights in the sky.

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman wants to stay in Washington longer than he previously said he would.

The Glenbeulah Republican indicated this week he would break a pledge he made during his first campaign for Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District to serve only five two-year terms in the House, telling the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he plans to remain on Capitol Hill after his current term ends in 2024.

“Well, right now we’re campaigning and raising money,” Grothman said when asked about his campaign pledge to serve only five terms.

“I have only been here for — only two of my 10 years I’ve been here in which we had a majority with a Republican president,” he added in a brief interview. “And I look forward to having that situation two years from today.”

The comments are a reversal from statements he made during the Republican primary for the seat in 2014, when he said he’d only serve 10 years in office. Grothman at the time was critical of the then-incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Petri’s tenure — Petri represented the district from 1979 to 2015 — saying he heard from voters who were concerned “they will get another Congressman who will be in Washington for 35 years.”

“The issues facing America are so pressing that we need to act now or we might lose our country altogether,” Grothman said in 2014. “Quite frankly, if these issues are not solved in the next 10 years, it will probably be too late.”

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The mother of two sons who died from fentanyl overdoses demands President Joe Biden to apologize after he laughed at claims that his administration was to blame for their deaths, calling him “despicable.”

In a video posted Wednesday night, Rebecca Kiessling emotionally exploded at Biden’s reaction to her son’s death.

“I’m shocked to see the video today, as President Biden talked about a congresswoman who misspoke when she said that my children’s deaths are the cause of President Biden’s policy failures,” Kiessling said. “As president Biden was speaking about this mother who lost her two sons, he starts to laugh… this is how you speak about the death of my sons? Because a congresswoman misspoke? You mock the loss of my sons?”

The day prior, Kiessling had testified before the House Homeland Security Committee, insisting that congress needs to take more action to stop the flow of Fentanyl into the U.S.

Her sons, Caleb, 20, and Kyler, 18, died after taking painkillers laced with the deadly drug. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) later alleged that the boys may still be alive today had the Biden Administration done more to secure the southern border.

However, the incidents occurred several months before Biden was sworn in.

Still, the president of the United States laughed at the aftermath of a tragic event instead of vowing to prevent further deaths by tightening illegal border crossings.

Instead, he attacked Greene saying, “isn’t she amazing?” while chuckling at a room full of Democrats.

“Almost every Democrat on the committee offered condolences; they at least had the decency to do that. You can’t even do that? You have to mock my pain?” The mother continued in her video.

Kiessling took further aim at Biden, asking him about the other countless fentanyl-related deaths that occurred during his time in office.

“But what about the 22% increase in fentanyl deaths since you became president? Since you changed your policy at the border. That represents tens of thousands of U.S. citizens who died on your watch,” she said, directing her comments at Biden.

“Are you going to keep laughing? About those who did die under your watch? Do we have to bring them in so you can look them in the eyes and laugh? What is wrong with you?”


A jury has found Alex Murdaugh, the disgraced South Carolina attorney on trial for the murder of his wife and son, guilty.

The decision comes after just a few hours of deliberation and a six-week trial where more than 70 witnesses testified. Murdaugh has maintained his innocence, suggesting his son Paul was the main target for the murders due to his involvement in a 2019 boat crash that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach.

The guilty verdict followed two distinct closing arguments from the defense and the prosecution. The prosecution argued that Murdaugh was the only person with the means, motive, and opportunity to kill his wife and son, while the defense claimed the sloppy investigation misses potential other suspects.

—The Daily Wire

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) announced that she was hospitalized on Thursday and is receiving treatment for shingles, leaving Senate Democrats without an outright majority this week as two other senators are also away from the Capitol.

Feinstein confirmed her hospitalization on Thursday after her spokesperson announced she was leaving D.C. for California to focus on a “health matter.”

“I was diagnosed over the February recess with a case of shingles. I have been hospitalized and am receiving treatment in San Francisco and expect to make a full recovery. I hope to return to the Senate later this month,” the 89-year-old California senator said.

—Breitbart News

Social media was abuzz after New York City Mayor Eric Adams argued that removing prayer from our schools led to a rise in gun violence.

Adams’ pointed comments were made during the annual Interfaith Breakfast in Manhattan.

The mayor argued that prayers from any faith could combat so many problems in the city, including domestic violence and homelessness.

He also noted it could have an effect on our schools.

“When we took prayers out of schools, guns came into schools,” Adams said, earning applause from those in attendance.

Adams seemingly anticipated the backlash he’d receive from godless liberals citing the ‘separation of church and state.’

“Don’t tell me about no separation of church and state. State is the body. Church is the heart,” he insisted. “You take the heart out of the body, the body dies.”

“I can’t separate my belief because I’m an elected official. When I walk, I walk with God. When I talk, I talk with God. When I put policies in place, I put them in with a God-like approach to them,” said Adams.

“That’s who I am.”

—The Political Insider

California cities have battled a homeless crisis for years, while still throwing billions of dollars at the spiraling tragedy to help those who are in dire need of housing.

But one city has defied the odds, reporting the lowest homeless population in the state.

Republican Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey said there are no vagrants in his city at all, and he joined “Fox & Friends First” to describe how he has reinforced a no-encampment policy while still upholding the rule of law.

“The policies that are in place at the regional and statewide level that are tolerating this type of behavior that is personally destructive and also destructive to the surrounding communities are really enabling this situation to increase throughout our entire state, and throughout our entire region,” Bailey told Ashley Strohmier.

“Changing these policies will actually have a major impact,” he continued.

Bailey explained that the city works with the police department and a homeless service provider to give the homeless only one option — to get the help they need.

Coronado funds “reasonable” services to help those struggling get “back on their feet,” but noted the city also has a no-tolerance policy for violating municipal codes.

“We also make it very clear that we don’t tolerate encampments along our sidewalks, and we don’t tolerate other code violations such as being drunk in public or urinating in public or defecating in public,” Bailey said. “We just simply don’t tolerate these basic code violations. What ends up happening is an individual either chooses to get help or they end up leaving.”

Coronado previously reported only one homeless person within the city, according to data from the San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness.

But Bailey says that person, fortunately, got the help that was needed and is no longer on the streets.

—FOX News

Debating an amendment on Tuesday in the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) graphically described what a partial-birth abortion is, and talk-radio host Mark Levin later played the clip and commented that the media will never show Americans the procedure, adding that it is “Mengele-like” and that the Democrat Party fully supports such barbarism.

Levin is the host of the Mark Levin Show, the No. 3 talk-radio program in the nation, and he is a New York Times best selling author, lawyer, and constitutional scholar.

On his March 1 program, Levin said, “The Democrats oppose legislation that would put an end to abortion after birth, an end to abortion that’s right there at the birth canal. We use this phrase ‘late-term abortion.’ As you know, I use the phrase ‘infanticide’ as well. I want you to listen to Congressman [Ken] Buck of Colorado.”

He then played the audio clip from Feb. 28, where Rep. Buck addressed a Democrat proposal, an amendment entitled, “The Threat of a Nationwide Abortion Ban.”

“Every state has legalized abortion,” said Buck. “Some states, unbelievably — and my state is one of them and I’m thoroughly embarrassed my state is one of them – has abortion up until the time of birth. Now let’s make sure we understand something. We use terms like ‘late-term abortion.’ And it’s so polite. You could go to a cocktail party and talk about ‘late-term abortion’ and not really offend anybody.”

“You’re talking about ripping the arms off of an unborn baby, and then the legs, and then the head,” said Buck. “A beating heart, a central nervous system that is fully functional. And all of you [Democrats] sit on that side and suggest that we are in favor of a ban on abortion.”

“I’ll tell you something the American people aren’t in favor of,” said the congressman. “They aren’t in favor of ripping the arms off of a baby, and the legs and the head, and pulling that baby out as if it was some group of cells.”

“That baby is a living human being,” he said. “It just happens to be inside its mother at the time. That’s disgusting, that’s not what America stands for.”

Commenting, Mark Levin said, “What has the Democrat Party become, ladies and gentlemen? They don’t even say abortion should be rare. They say abortion on demand. … It’s a short stop from eugenics to partial-birth abortion.”

“He’s just described to you something you’ll never see on TV, that’s happening all over this country,” said Levin. “You’ll never see a documentary on PBS. You’ll never hear it discussed by the comedians, so-called, on Late Night. They’ll never promote pictures of this.”

—CNS News

A congressional watchdog says Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might have violated House rules when she received gifts associated with her attendance at a prestigious fashion event in 2021.

The Office of Congressional Ethics recommended the watchdog continue investigating an allegation against the New York Democrat “because there is substantial reason to believe that she accepted impermissible gifts” associated with the Met Gala, according to a release Thursday from the agency.

In 2021, Ocasio-Cortez attended one of the fashion world’s biggest nights at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art wearing a Brother Vellies’ white dress with “Tax the Rich” written in large red letters on the backside.

Ocasio-Cortez was provided with the dress, a handbag, shoes and jewelry for the event, according to a report from the Office of Congressional Ethics. She also received hair, makeup and transportation services as well as the use of a hotel room for the event.

The review said Ocasio-Cortez paid for the items, including the rental value of the dress, only after the watchdog office started its review. Investigators said that if the office hadn’t opened the inquiry, “it appears that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez may not have paid for several thousands of dollars’ worth of goods and services provided to her.”



The Republican Party’s slow transformation from the Bordeaux-sipping party of Acela Corridor suburbanites into the beer-drinking party of working-class Rust Belt-ers and Sun Belt-ers has been picking up some steam lately. And as the GOP’s divorce from the Chamber of Commerce over irreconcilable cultural differences accelerates, a golden opportunity has emerged to recast the GOP not in a 1980s-era image of supply-side tax-cutting, but in a revamped image of the party that focuses on supporting parental rights and protecting vulnerable children from modern society’s depredations.

The No. 1 killer today of Americans aged 18-45 years old is fentanyl trafficked by Mexican drug cartels, as some Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans pointed out this week during a hearing with hapless Attorney General Merrick Garland. A recent Axios-Ipsos poll showed that a 37% plurality of Republicans surveyed consider opioids and fentanyl to be the single greatest threat to U.S. public health, and at least some in the party are coming around to acting accordingly. Besides securing the U.S.-Mexico border once and for all, perhaps the other single most effective action the federal government could take on this front would be to formally designate the cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Last month, a coalition of 21 red-state attorneys general sent a formal letter to President Joe Biden, exhorting him to instruct his State Department to do precisely that.

Aside from fentanyl, which has brought annual drug overdose deaths to a horrifying 106,000 from a 1992 low of just over 5,000, there is currently no greater threat to vulnerable children than the varying tentacles of the woke ideology. The federal government is a destructive peddler of wokeism, as Biden’s recent “diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility” executive order demonstrates, but corporate wokeism is an arguably even greater threat. Accordingly, the imperative of the hour, in order to help parents protect vulnerable children from irremediable third-party harm, Republicans must once and for all break free of stale libertarian bromides and act to exorcise the woke demon from corporate America.

The fights against transgender surgeries for minors and Big Tech addiction are two other powerful examples of what a more hands-on, culturally pugnacious, parents- and children-first GOP can, and should, prioritize.

—Josh Hammer, First Liberty Institute

I’m old enough to remember when college-loan recipients expected to repay their loan balance.

The whole thing.

That was before President Joe Biden decided he unilaterally can forgive $10,000 in outstanding federal college loan balances incurred by debtors who earn up to $125,000 annually — or $250,000 for married couples.

Pell Grant recipients would be eligible for an extra $10,000 in debt forgiveness.

On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments to determine if two challenges to the scheme have standing to change the law.

It’s incongruous when you think about it: the party that opposes “income inequality” supports giving money to college graduates, a group that earns more than the majority of American taxpayers who didn’t earn a college degree.

If Team Biden prevails, the cost to American taxpayers will be $400 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), or “roughly $500 billion,” according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

I should note that it was President Donald Trump who signed an order in March 2020 to allow student loan recipients to suspend their payments for two months.

That was in the heat of COVID closures that threatened to cripple the U.S. economy and expose working families to financial ruin.

Those two months of grace turned into more than three years — regular loan payments now are set to resume on June 30, 2023 — even as the economy recovered.

In September 2022, Biden told CBS’s “60 Minutes,” “The pandemic is over.” The unemployment rate was 3.5%, about what it is now.

Today COVID-19 is a problem, but it no longer is an emergency.

Yes, there are exceptions, but college graduates who want work generally can find it.

I know I’m supposed to feel sorry for poor little college graduates who have to pay off their college debt. But having paid off my student debt, I just feel like a sucker.

—Debra J. Saunders is a fellow with Discovery Institute’s Chapman Center for Citizen Leadership

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – In 1931 The Star-Spangled Banner, written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812, was officially adopted as the national anthem of the United States by act of Congress.

And in 1991, following a high-speed car chase, Los Angeles police officers brutally beat Rodney King, an African American motorist; despite a videotape of the beating, the policemen were acquitted in 1992, causing large-scale rioting in the city.

One thought on “NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Friday, March 3, 2023

  1. Pingback: My Most Popular Blogs (03/06/2023) | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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