NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Friday, March 17, 2023

Briefs are posted every weekday morning, M-F


In a lengthy interview with the Journal Sentinel, Janet Protasiewicz addressed criticisms from her former husband’s children.

In her early 30s, while an assistant district attorney, Protasiewicz began dating and then married former Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Patrick Madden of Fox Point in January 1997. She was 34 and he was 70.

It did not go well. The two split in October 1997, and she filed for an annulment months later.

In court records, Protasiewicz said she did not know there was a divorce clause in the prenuptial agreement, which she contended she never read. She said she didn’t know one of Madden’s adult sons, Michael, would be living with them. Madden disputed both points.

Protasiewicz asked for a total of $115,145 in maintenance and divided assets if the judge threw out the prenuptial agreement. But the judge found it valid and granted a divorce, not an annulment. In the end, she received $12,000 for furniture she disposed of to move in with Madden, $485 for a burial plot and a share of the wedding gifts.

Madden died in 2018 at the age of 91.

The bad blood between Protasiewicz and Madden’s three adult children continues to this day.

The three children — Mark Madden, 66; Michael Madden, 61; and Sheila Casey, 59 — all accuse Protasiewicz of taking advantage of their father at a vulnerable time.

“In retrospect, that’s what it looks like to me,” said Mark Madden, a retired Virginia doctor, noting that his mother had died just five months before his father and Protasiewicz started dating. Protasiewicz’s father was also gravely ill at the time.

The children said the pair lived a very active life while dating and during the marriage, traveling around the world, going whitewater rafting, riding roller coasters and attending blues concerts. They said their father told them that he didn’t always enjoy all this activity.

Beyond that, Michael Madden said Protasiewicz wasn’t the progressive she is now when she was married to his father, a staunch conservative. The father wrote a piece for the Journal Sentinel in August 1995 arguing against abortion rights and no-fault divorce. All three children described themselves as pro-life.

“She claimed to my dad that she was a conservative Republican who was pro-life,” said Michael Madden, a two-time felon who spent more than three years in federal prison for conspiring to distribute 220 pounds of marijuana in Milwaukee. “She was all about power and greed.”

The other two children said they never heard Protasiewicz say she was opposed to abortion, but they said they would find it hard to believe that their father would date and marry someone who supported abortion rights. Madden’s first wife was very active in a group called Wisconsin Concerned Citizens for Life.

In a recent interview, Protasiewicz disputed that claim, saying, “I can’t even imagine that I would have had any substantive conversations with them about anything involving deep personal thoughts.”

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport was recognized by the Airports Council International and Airport Service Quality as one of the best airports in the world — the second consecutive year the airport has achieved this honor.

“One year ago, we celebrated the first ASQ award in MKE’s history. And receiving this designation two years in a row is a remarkable testament to Airport staff and the many stakeholders who deliver an outstanding customer experience to travelers every day at MKE,” said Airport Director Brian Dranzik.

Mitchell earned the award in the North American category for airports that service 5 to 15 million passengers a year. It was one of only three airports that were recognized in this category and one of only 10 airports of any size in the U.S. – to earn a 2022 ASQ Best Airport award.

ASQ awards are determined by travelers through independent surveys administered while they are at the airport. These surveys take place all around the world allowing ASQ to showcase the world’s best airports.

“Receiving such high scores directly from passengers illustrates the world-class experience travelers receive when they choose to fly to or from MKE,” said Dranzik.

This award comes as Milwaukee’s airport continues to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic. Traffic at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport continued to move closer to pre-pandemic levels in 2022 with passengers taking 5.4 million flights — almost 1 million more than in 2021.

While that’s about 1.5 million flights away from matching 2019 numbers, officials are confident that 2023 will bring Mitchell closer to reaching traffic not seen since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Mayor Adams called on New Yorkers to transform the city into “a place of God” Thursday — the latest in a series of faith-based remarks that have defied conventions set by his City Hall predecessors.

Adams, who was speaking at a faith-based summit on mental health, posed much of his speech in the form of questions that boiled down to one focal point: How does one reshape New York City into a place that exudes an aura of faith and God?

“How do we take a city that is the center of the power of America and turn it into a city, when you enter it, everyone sees faith and sees God?” the mayor said during Thursday’s confab, held at Columbia University’s Teachers College. “Our challenge is not economics. Our challenge is not finance. Our challenge is faith. People have lost their faith.”

Adams’ latest comments on the subject of God and belief come two weeks after he stirred up controversy when he declared he doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state, a perspective he clarified days later by saying that “government should not interfere with religion, and religion should not interfere with government.”

Since making those statements, he’s taken more than one question from reporters on the topic, has floated the idea of encouraging spiritual exchanges between houses of worship, and on Wednesday, during an appearance at a gun violence summit hosted by national faith leaders, he called on clerics to be part of a “major recruitment campaign” to get young people to become police officers.

“We should be part of the rallying call of having good, God-fearing young men and women play this awesome role of public safety in our city,” he said at that event.

(Thursday) Adams described his childhood and how his mother, who died weeks before his inauguration, would emphasize the importance of people feeling and seeing God when they walked into their home.

“Mommy used to say to the six of us, she says, ‘When people walk into this house, do they feel God? Do they see God? Do they feel the energy of God?’” he said. “So here’s my question. Our home is New York City. When people walk into this city, when they get off the bus, when the asylum seekers come in, when they enter the city for the first time at JFK or Amtrak — do they feel God?”

He said he’s fearful of what’s happening in the city and in the country as a whole — and pointed to the easy access children have to cannabis products, cosmetic surgery and phone-based apps like TikTok as bellwethers which show the country is moving in the wrong direction.

Adams, who’s railed against social media repeatedly, pointed to China’s approach to TikTok as one that’s superior to the one now being taken in the United States.

“They don’t allow the TikTok that our children are looking at. They don’t allow it in China. They only have education TikTok. Our babies are waking up every day in the morning, on their way to school, stopping into stores and bodegas and buying gummy bears and Skittles laced with cannabis and sitting inside the classroom,” he said. “We are seeing the erosion of the foundation of our future.”

NY Daily News

Chris Cabrera, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, testified before Congress about the hardships Border Patrol agents are experiencing.

Last year was especially hard, he said, with 17 agents committing suicide.

“To put that in perspective,” he said, the New York Police Department’s roughly 35,000-man force, they lost 4 to suicide.

“We see a lot of stuff out there that the average person doesn’t see. What hits folks the hardest is what happens with the children,” he said, referring to human trafficking and unaccompanied young children being brought across.

“It’s a difficult job,” he said. “It’s increasingly getting harder by the fact that we’re not put in a position to do the job that we were trained to do. The Border Patrol is the only union in the history of unions that is actually asking for more work.”

“Let us work. Let us do our job,” he pleaded.

Cabrera testified Wednesday before the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security at a field hearing on border security in Pharr, Texas, on behalf of 16,000 Border Patrol agents the NBPC represents.

“Morale is significantly down,” he said. “Our agents are frustrated that we’re babysitters,” he said, referring to being tasked with processing and releasing illegal foreign nationals into the U.S. instead of deporting them, securing the border and thwarting cartel activity – tasks they’re trained to perform.

“Roughly 30-40% of our agents actually get out into the field on any given day,” he said, but then they get called back to process paperwork or transport people to drop-off points. “The real bad guys, the smugglers that are harming people that are bringing jobs into this country, or trafficking humans are getting away and that affects agents in their desire to do their job,” he said.

—Just the News

On the snowy border between New York and Canada, the local sheriff’s office is calling for the U.S. Border Patrol to put more manpower behind what the locals call a growing crisis: The number of illegal border crossings in the area over the last five months is nearly 10 times what it was over the same time last year, and the border crossers are in danger of freezing to death.

From Oct. 1 to Feb. 28, about 2,000 migrants crossed the border between Canada and New Hampshire, Vermont and New York south through the forests, compared to just 200 crossings in the same period the previous year.

The migrants are mainly from Mexico, and they can travel to Canada without visas before they cross illegally into the U.S., often to reunite with their families.

“The only way to really be able to cover and protect [the northern border] is boots on the ground,” Clinton County, New York, Sheriff David Favroo said.

According to local first responders, southbound migrants often seek shelter in empty sheds and barns to shield themselves from the cold.

April Barcomb, a Mooers resident, said she has had migrants show up at her doorstep and is now saving up for security cameras.

“It’s not something I would usually do,” she said. “But it makes me think twice. And with the kids and the family, I gotta install cameras.”

“People are scared,” a Champlain County resident said. “It’s the fear of the unknown. They’re [neighbors] worried about their safety, because they don’t know these people.”

–NBC News

Thousands of Los Angeles public school employees are poised to go on a three-day strike next week amid stalled union negotiations.

SEIU Local 99 — which represents approximately 30,000 cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians, special education assistants and other employees in the Los Angeles Unified School District — announced on Wednesday it will lead a three-day strike from March 21 through March 23 to “protest the school district’s unfair practices.”

United Teachers Los Angeles, which represents more than 30,000 teachers at LAUSD, has also announced it will honor the strike and not cross the picket lines — which could mean no classroom instruction, school officials said.

Workers have been in contract negotiations with LAUSD for nearly a year, according to SEIU Local 99, which has been seeking wage increases, increased staffing for student services and more full-time work. Last month, 96% of its members voted to authorize a strike over the district’s alleged harassment and threats against those engaging in union activities, it said.

—ABC News

From No. 13 seed Furman beating fourth-seeded Virginia to No. 15 Princeton defeating second-seeded Arizona, most NCAA Tournament brackets were busted Thursday before the sun went down.

The NCAA March Madness Twitter account posted after Thursday’s late games concluded that only 787 brackets of unspecified millions remained perfect.

Numbers were similar elsewhere.

In ESPN’s Tournament Challenge bracket game, only 658 perfect brackets remained by the end of the first day. More than 20 million had gotten at least one of the 16 games wrong.

Furman received a decent amount of support. The Paladins were picked to win their opener in 18.2% of ESPN’s brackets. Only 6.6% picked Princeton to beat Arizona, and the Wildcats going down did tremendous damage to many brackets. They were picked in 4.9% of brackets to cut down the nets at the national championship game.

Arizona was a popular pick at CBS Sports, too, appearing on 96.9% of brackets win its opener, 84.9% to make the Sweet 16, 55.2% to make the Elite Eight, 21.5% to reach the Final Four and 5% to win it all.

—Associated Press

Vice President Kamala Harris was showered with boos while attending an NCAA Tournament game Thursday. Her alma mater Howard University was blown out in a first-round game of March Madness.

When the veep was shown on video board during the men’s basketball game, the boos were louder than the applause inside Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, the Associated Press reported.

The Democrat witnessed the top-seeded University of Kansas Jayhawks trounce the Howard Bison – where Harris graduated in 1986 – by a score of 96-68 in the west region matchup.

—NY Post

After careful consideration, Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki has granted a dispensation for March 17, 2023 which lifts the obligation of abstinence from meat on Fridays during Lent so Catholics in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

“A feast day in the Church means what it says – it calls for celebratory feasting,” Archbishop Listecki said. “However, Catholics who partake in the St. Patrick’s Day feast are encouraged to engage in another sacrificial or charitable act that day or give up meat on another day.”

Catholics 14 and older are to abstain from meat on all Fridays of Lent, which began Feb. 22 this year, as an act of penance. Fasting from meat on these Fridays is one way Catholics partake in the three traditional pillars of Lenten observance of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

The Catholic Church assigns one date out of the year for each canonized saint – known as the saint’s feast day.

“Saints such as St. Patrick provide us with marvelous role models and a means to pass on traditions from one generation to the next,” Archbishop Listecki said. “It’s also important that we deeply appreciate the connection from us as the Body of Christ on earth to the saints now in heaven.”

March 17 has been the official feast day of St. Patrick on the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar since 1631, but Irish people had been celebrating their beloved bishop since the 10th century.

—The Archdiocese of Milwaukee

A new poll showed the ‘luck of the Irish’ may be a real thing—with residents of Ireland reporting a greater prevalence of good fortune.

The survey revealed that those living on the Emerald Isle may actually experience more luck—tallying an average of 40 fortunate moments every year, nearly 10 percent more than people in the rest of the UK.

Irish folks are also more likely to describe themselves as lucky, with nearly half (49%) believing they’re blessed, compared to 40 percent elsewhere.

—Good News Network


Peggy Flanagan, Minnesota’s newly reelected Lieutenant Governor, spoke at a press conference about the importance of Minnesota becoming a “sanctuary state” for non-custodial parents who kidnap their children in order to sterilize and mutilate them through “gender-affirming care.”

Flanagan explained the importance of this at the press conference, and her explanation was particularly idiotic.

MN Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan on sex changes for minors: “When our children tell us who they are, it is our job as grown-ups to listen and to believe them. That’s what it means to be a good parent.”

This is, perhaps, one of the stupidest things I have heard out of a politician’s mouth. She is not only wrong, she is spectacularly wrong. Wrong in every possible way.

But for the fact that Flanagan has children I would have assumed she never met one. Children are wrong all the time, and Democrats remind us of this fact all the time when it suits them.

How many times have you heard a Democrat excuse the actions of violent criminals because their brains are not fully developed? A hundred? A thousand? It is a common refrain whenever the Democrats argue for leniency against the most horrific crimes.

But an infant, a toddler, a pre-teen, or a teen can make life-altering decisions in which they are permanently sterilized and mutilated based upon having a difficult time at one point in their childhood.

The very concept of “being born in the wrong body” is absurd on its face, because it ignores that our personhood itself is bound to being embodied. It makes as much sense as claiming to be born as the wrong species. You are what you are. Imagining something or wanting to be something doesn’t make it so.

Kids try on identities throughout maturation. Nobody is born a goth, a stoner, or a drag queen. Or the opposite sex. Telling kids otherwise makes you a clown.

—David Strom, Hot Air

Yes, it’s hard to believe, but after years of being told that boys who think they’re girls and girls who think they’re boys are “brave” and “courageous” instead of mentally ill, and that the Founding Fathers were all racist white supremacist slave owners who did nothing good in the world, and that figuring out one’s pronouns is much more important than learning algebra or calculus, America’s teens are registering lower IQs than they have in nearly a century. It has long been obvious but now it has been proven: the woke indoctrination that passes for education in America today is making our young people stupid.

Campus Reform reported Wednesday that it isn’t just a young people’s problem: “a recent study suggests that, for the first time in nearly 100 years, Americans’ average intelligence quotient (IQ) is declining.” However, the study, which was published in the May-June 2023 issue of Intelligence, finds that young people are experiencing the most significant decline in intellectual abilities: “the greatest differences in annual scores were observed for 18- to 22-year-olds.” What a surprise.

The study notes a phenomenon that philosopher and intelligence researcher James Flynn, who died in 2020, first noted: “starting in 1932, average IQ scores increased roughly three to five points per decade. In other words, ‘younger generations are expected to have higher IQ scores than the previous cohort.’” However, after a generation and more of Leftist dominance of the education industry, there is now “a reverse Flynn effect.” The study shows that between 2006 and 2018, there were general declines in IQ scores. Campus Reform adds that “overall declines held true across age groups after controlling for educational attainment and gender, but the study shows that the loss in cognitive abilities is steeper for younger participants.”

Why might this be happening? Campus Reform states laconically, “The professors who authored the study theorize that the quality of education could play a role in reversing the IQ gains enjoyed by previous generations.” No kidding, really? You mean forsaking teaching children critical thinking skills and instead filling their heads with Leftist slogans and societal contagions makes a difference? Spending class time on teaching the Left’s current sexual obsessions instead of readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic actually turns out students who are more concerned about proclaiming that they’re “queer” or “trans” than about acquiring the skills they need to make a decent living? Wow! Who could have seen that coming?

Yes. Even just ten years ago, many colleges still offered some semblance of an actual education. But as curricula nationwide have grown increasingly woke, students come out of our nation’s colleges and universities best suited to become Antifa thugs, and only poorly and spottily equipped to do any actual work.

—Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, died this day in 461, according to legend, and now his feast day is celebrated widely in Ireland and the United States.

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