NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Briefs are posted every weekday morning, M-F


Wisconsin voters had a chance to cast ballots in person starting Tuesday in the state’s high-stakes Supreme Court race, the same day the two candidates were meeting for their first and only debate two weeks before election day.

Both candidates were urging their supporters to vote early during the period that runs through April 2. Midday on Tuesday, Republican-backed Dan Kelly and Democratic-supported Janet Protasiewicz were debating in a race to decide majority control of the court with abortion access, legislative redistricting, voting rights and other issues at stake.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court came within one vote of overturning Donald Trump’s defeat in 2020. Whoever wins the April 4 election for a seat vacated by the retirement of a conservative justice will determine majority control of the court for at least the next two years, including leading up to the 2024 presidential election.

Protasiewicz, a Milwaukee County judge, is running as a staunch supporter of abortion rights. Wisconsin’s ban on nearly all abortions, which was enacted in 1849 — a year after statehood, is being challenged in court. The case is likely to be decided by the state Supreme Court later this year or next.

Kelly, a former state Supreme Court justice, has long ties to the Republican Party, having previously worked for Republicans, including advising fake electors who met in 2020 to try and cast the state’s electoral votes for Donald Trump even though he lost.

—Wisconsin AP

A group of 23 attorneys general led by Wisconsin’s Josh Kaul has penned letter to Kia and Hyundai car manufacturers urging them to more quickly fix the nationwide car theft epidemic plaguing its customers.

Although the move stops short of a lawsuit, the letter is the latest in a mounting series of legal actions and scrutiny circling the two car companies after thieves began exploiting a design flaw three years ago that made certain Kia and Hyundai models vulnerable to theft.

The city of Milwaukee may soon join in those legal actions. Common Council President José Pérez suggested Monday the council could authorize the city attorney to pursue legal action as early as Tuesday.

“It’s our hope that with (attorneys general) from around the country raising their voices, a bipartisan group, that this is going to spur further action,” Kaul said at a press conference at Milwaukee’s Police Administration Building.

In February, the two car companies announced they will provide a free software upgrade for the millions of vehicles they manufactured without an “engine immobilizer” – an anti-theft mechanism.

Kaul said that was a “significant positive development,” but the letter he and 22 other attorneys general signed onto called it “long overdue and still not enough.”

The letter identified three shortcomings of the two car companies: the upgrades will not be available for most of the affected car models until June; the companies have said the upgrade will not be available for some of the affected models but have not identified which those are; and the companies have not committed to providing direct notice to car owners about the upgrade.

The letter also points out that the two companies have arranged for physical anti-theft steering wheel locks to be distributed by local law enforcement agencies. But the letter argues “more needs to be done so that every current owner can obtain one of these devices at no cost as soon as possible – especially those owners whose cars are not compatible with the software upgrade you recently announced.”

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Barricades were erected on Monday around the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse ahead of an expected indictment of former President Trump over his alleged involvement in a hush-money payment scheme to porn star Stormy Daniels.

According to Politico, NYPD, Secret Service, and court officials also met to plan for the potential indictment.

The 45th president will reportedly be fingerprinted and get his mug shot taken but may not be handcuffed or “perp walked.”

On Saturday, Trump said he expected the indictment on Tuesday and called for protests.

“The far and away leading Republican candidate and former president of the United States of America will be arrested on Tuesday of next week,” he said on Truth Social. “Protest, take our nation back!”

As George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley pointed out, the case by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s office is a “made-for-TV” prosecution.

“Although it may be politically popular, the case is legally pathetic,” Turley argued. “Bragg is struggling to twist state laws to effectively prosecute a federal case long ago rejected by the Justice Department against Trump over his payment of ‘hush money’ to former stripper Stormy Daniels.”


The cast of “Ted Lasso” visited the White House on Monday to talk about mental health, but their appearance was upstaged by a reporter airing his grievances about White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre not calling on enough reporters in the room.

Pierre started to address a packed briefing room and introduce actor Jason Sudeikis and the cast of the show, when the reporter said, “Karine, before — before you begin. I would like to request that you call on everyone from across the room.

“You’ve been discriminating against me and discriminating against some people in the briefing room, and I’m saying that this is the U.S. This is not China. This is not Russia,” Simon Ateba, White House correspondent for Today News Africa, complained.

“What you are doing, you are making a mockery of the First Amendment. It’s been seven months. You’ve not called on me. You blow off my messages. I’m saying that that’s not right. That’s not right,” he said.

“No, no, no, no. Nope. That’s not — we’re not doing this. We’re not doing this. We’re not doing this. We’re not doing this,” Jean-Pierre responded.

Other reporters in the briefing room scolded Ateba, yelling, “Decorum,” “Be respectful,” and “You’re being rude.”

“Are you ready? Are we going to behave?” the press secretary asked.

“It’s not about behaving,” Ateba said. “I’m saying that it is to respect the First Amendment.”

—CNS News

Germany’s Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach, who once claimed that COVID-19 vaccination is free of side effects, admitted last week that he was wrong, saying adverse reactions occur at a rate of one in 10,000 doses and can cause “severe disabilities.”

On Aug. 14, 2021, Lauterbach said on Twitter that the vaccines had “no side effects,” further questioning why some Germans refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

During an interview on March 12, Lauterbach was asked by anchor Christian Sievers about the claim he made in the summer of 2021, confronting the health minister with his previous tweet that stated the shots are virtually free of side effects.

Lauterbach responded that the tweet was “misguided” and an “exaggeration” he made at the time, noting that it “did not represent my true position.”

“I’ve always been aware of the numbers and they’ve remained relatively stable … one in 10,000 [are injured],” Lauterbach said. “Some say that it’s a lot, and some say it’s not so many.”

Lauterbach’s remark on vaccine adverse events came after the German network played a segment of several Germans who’ve been seriously injured after getting the shot, including a 17-year-old gymnast who previously competed in the German Artistic Gymnastics Championships before she was hospitalized for more than one year shortly after receiving the second dose of the BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

“What do you say to those who have been affected [by vaccine injuries]?” Sievers asked Lauterbach.

“What’s happened to these people is absolutely dismaying, and every single case is one too many,” Lauterbach responded. “I honestly feel very sorry for these people. There are severe disabilities, and some of them will be permanent.”

Steve Kirsch, executive director of the Vaccine Safety Research Foundation, did not agree with Lauterbach, but he commended the health minister for making “progress” when comparing his latest remark to his previous comments regarding the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.

“The true rate of serious adverse events is approximately 100 times greater than the figures Lauterbach cited—’closer to 1 in 100 doses’ and ‘For death, it is ~1 in 1,000 doses,’” Kirsch said on Twitter.

—The Epoch Times

Dollar Tree has pulled eggs from store shelves over prices skyrocketing, the company said.

Egg prices have increased by as much as 60% in the last year, prompting the popular discount store to pull eggs over not being able to make a profit, Reuters reported. The majority of merchandise at Dollar Tree sits at $1.25, though the store also has other items for $3 and $5.

“Our primary price point at Dollar Tree is $1.25. The cost of eggs is currently very high,” company spokesperson Randy Guiler said, according to the Washington Examiner.

Despite the eggs getting pulled, they will likely return to shelves when “costs are more in line with historical levels.”

—FOX Business

If you ditched cereal boxes for uniform glass containers and opted for Plexiglas storage bins in your fridge, you may be engaging in classist, racist and sexist behaviors, one Chicago professor contends.

Dr. Jenna Drenten, an associate professor of marketing at Loyola University, argued Tuesday that the recent obsession with organizing kitchen and pantry spaces — a TikTok trend she dubbed “pantry porn” — is pushing societal standards that the average American cannot keep up with while tricking consumers into spending more money.

The “new minimalism” approach is just a thinly veiled excuse to entice people to buy more items — containers, labels and storage space — that give off the decluttered appearance of simple living, Drenten wrote for the Conversation.

“Storing spices in coordinated glass jars and color-coordinating dozens of sprinkles containers may seem trivial. But tidiness is tangled up with status, and messiness is loaded with assumptions about personal responsibility and respectability,” the professor stated.

“Cleanliness has historically been used as a cultural gatekeeping mechanism to reinforce status distinctions based on a vague understanding of ‘niceness’: nice people, with nice yards, in nice houses, make for nice neighborhoods.

“What lies beneath the surface of this anti-messiness, pro-niceness stance is a history of classist, racist and sexist social structures.”

According to Drenten’s research, the social media influencers who push pantry porn are “predominantly white women who demonstrate what it looks like to maintain a ‘nice’ home by creating a new status symbol: the perfectly organized, fully stocked pantry.”

—NY Post

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament has already packed a month of madness into a single weekend.

Surprises and upsets defined the first two rounds of tournament play, sending some of college basketball’s biggest names packing – including Kansas, Purdue, Duke, Virginia and Kentucky – as Fairleigh Dickinson beat Purdue and Princeton topped Arizona and Missouri to write two of the top Cinderella stories in recent tournament history.

Amid this flurry of unpredictability, what happens next is anyone’s guess.

Could the tournament have a first-time champion?

There has been a recent trend of first-time champions: Virginia did so in 2019 and Baylor in 2021. To find a new member of the national-champion club before that, you’d have to go back to the first of Florida’s back-to-back crowns in 2006.

The odds are rising that a newcomer will join this group early next month. Of the 16 teams still alive in the men’s bracket, 12 have never won it all: No. 1 Alabama, No. 1 Houston, No. 2 Texas, No. 3 Xavier, No. 3 Kansas State, No. 3 Gonzaga, No. 4 Tennessee, No. 5 Miami, No. 5 San Diego State, No. 6 Creighton, No. 9 Florida Atlantic and No. 15 Princeton.

Seven teams in the Sweet 16 have never reached the Final Four: Alabama, Xavier, Tennessee, Miami, San Diego State, Creighton and Florida Atlantic.



We should all reconcile with the fact that Dr. Anthony Fauci is never going away; too many people idolize the man. He’s become a cult-like figure for the COVID freaks on the Left, the male version of Hillary Clinton. Like herpes, you may not see Fauci daily, but he’ll say ‘hey’ every few years. PBS is doing a documentary about that man who got everything wrong about the coronavirus. In some segments posted on social media, Fauci is walking around DC with Mayor Muriel Bowser, trying to increase vaccine rates among black neighborhoods. They were met with skepticism. From Fox News:

In a clip from the program Fauci and Bowser are shown in June 2021 walking the streets of Ward 8 of Anacostia in southeast D.C. – a historical African-American neighborhood that Fauci called “disenfranchised” with low vaccination levels. At the time of the video, Fauci was the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

One man challenged the renowned doctor and the Democratic mayor by saying that “the people in America are not settled with the information that’s been given to us right now.”

“So, I’m not going to be lining up taking a shot on a vaccination for something that wasn’t clear in the first place,” he said.

He pressed Fauci and Bowser about the length of time it took to develop the vaccine and said, “Nine months is definitely not enough for nobody to be taking no vaccination that you all came up with.”

Bowser defended the vaccine by saying, “The only reason I’m talking to you right now, as close as we are, is that I’ve been vaccinated,” as she stood about six feet from the man on the front porch of his home.

“But if thousands of people like you don’t get vaccinated, you’re going to let this virus continue to percolate in this country and in this world,” Bowser said.

“[Your] campaign is about fear. It’s about inciting fear in people. You all attack people with fear. That’s what this pandemic is. It’s a fear, it’s fear, this pandemic. That’s all it is,” he said as Fauci and Bowser walked away.

Another woman also challenged the duo, saying, “I heard that [the vaccine] doesn’t cure it, and it doesn’t stop you from getting it.”

The pure comedic aspect surfaces when Fauci blames red states for not pushing vaccination, saying they will keep COVID around as new outbreaks occur. Sir, you’re in deep-blue DC, and people are skeptical of getting vaccinated.

The contradictory game he played to keep fear alive, which soon veered into the realm of science fiction, ran its course, and we don’t have to listen to him. That’s the beautiful thing about this country. If you don’t want the vaccine, don’t get it, and Fauci has zero power.

The scientific community treated this virus, which has a 99.8 percent survival rate, as some super Ebola. It wasn’t. They tried to keep fear alive regarding long Covid symptoms; no one cared because it’s not a real threat to the public. They torched their credibility to help Democrats, Joe Biden, and big pharma in 2020. Now, healthy Americans are dying all over the place from cardiac episodes. This spike in those “dying suddenly” from myocardia events in the 18-34 year demographic began two years. I wonder what could have spurred that?

—Matt Vespa, Townhall. The program “Dr. Fauci visits D.C. to battle vaccine hesitancy” airs tonight on PBS.

If you support a school system that won’t teach children to read, do math, learn the simplest events in history, or understand the most ordinary facts about the world we live in, you’re guilty of child abuse.

Maybe not sexual child abuse, but certainly academic child abuse, education child abuse, cultural and intellectual child abuse, cognitive and psychological child abuse. You’re guilty.

Look at the evidence. It’s the size of Texas. To flee from your guilt, you might try to deny the undeniable and believe the unbelievable — for example, that the Education Establishment cares about improving education. That’s funny because it doesn’t care even a little. For the people in that group, education is the enemy. Evidently, they want dumbing down and mediocrity. They have figured out that educated people are harder to control. Why take a chance? Surely, for them, less is more.

Is that difficult to accept? Certainly no more difficult than news such as this: in 23 high schools in West Baltimore in 2019, no graduating senior could pass the basic proficiency test in math or English. That’s crazy. QED: Public school education is collapsing faster than a snowman on Malibu Beach. Some 7,000 Baltimore students will not be able to advance in our economy. They will stay reliant on welfare and will have low self-esteem. That’s bad for the country.

The teachers’ unions and professors of education are guilty of undermining our public schools…and thereby undermining the country. Don’t help these irresponsible people.

If you side with corrupt unions and Marxist professors, you’re guilty of bad faith, of aiding and abetting. You deserve more blame than you’ve gotten so far.

Don’t you think the time has come to clean up this mess? Face the facts, wallow in guilt, plan now for a better future. Otherwise, you’re complicit.

The main thing to confront, to grapple with, is that public schools have been mediocre for many decades. You watched it happen but did nothing. You can look at the government’s official numbers, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), and see that progress has flatlined. Why aren’t you demanding better?

Do you know that our country 100 years ago was almost universally literate? An eighth-grade education was probably more education than today’s college students receive. Goals have been set artificially low. You have to use such terms as “sabotage” and “malevolence.” Some powerful people want bad schools.

How do you suppress intelligence in children? Simple. You don’t teach much. Or if you do teach something, you muddle it. You disorient people by talking, for example, about morals and murals without ever defining the terms. Kids don’t know which is what.

There’s too much soft chatter and mushy jargon. We need some hard urgency. Save the schools by any means necessary. Let’s start by shouting the truth: the people in control of the public school are deliberately dumbing them down. Their choices make that clear.

Stop dreaming of a day where our Education Establishment will suddenly become benevolent and efficient. They say your kids are learning to read; it’s a lie. They claim there’s no longer any need for children to know basic information like continents and cities, no longer any need to multiply numbers or anything else you want to mention. Completely wrong. Children should learn these things. That’s what school is there for.

Don’t turn away from what has happened. There is a war against children and knowledge. Maybe we can still win this war.

Instead of conceding everything the commissars demand, start asking a question: why should we agree with that? Aren’t you cheating the kids in school when you take education away from them?

—Bruce Deitrick Price’s new novel is Art and Beauty.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – The U.S. federal prison on San Francisco Bay’s Alcatraz Island, which had held some of the most dangerous civilian prisoners—including Al Capone and Robert Stroud, the “Birdman of Alcatraz”—was closed this day in 1963.

And in 1980, in one of the most famous cliff-hangers in American television, season 3 of Dallas ended with the shooting of J.R. Ewing (played by Larry Hagman); the phrase “Who shot J.R.?” entered the lexicon of American popular culture.

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