NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Briefs are posted every weekday morning, M-F


If elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz says she would consider recusing herself from cases involving Wisconsin’s law known as Act 10 that limited collective bargaining abilities for most public employees because of her participation in protests against the measure.

Protasiewicz told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board last week her opposition to the law, including participating in protests in 2011 and signing a recall petition of then-Republican Gov. Scott Walker, might result in a recusal if she is elected the court.

“I’d have to think about it,” Protasiewicz said. “Given the fact that I marched, given the fact that I signed the recall petition, would I recuse myself? Maybe. Maybe. But I don’t know for sure.”

Protasiewicz also said she believes the law is unconstitutional and agreed with a dissenting opinion written in 2014 by liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley in a decision that upheld Walker’s signature legislation.

Bradley wrote in the dissent that the majority opinion diluted public workers’ constitutional right to freedom of association.

“The majority has opened the door for the state to withhold benefits and punish individuals based on their membership in disfavored groups,” Bradley wrote.

“I agree with the dissent in that case,” Protasiewicz said in an extensive interview with the Journal Sentinel editorial board on March 20.

The 2014 decision upholding Act 10 was 5-2, with former conservative Justice Michael Gableman writing the lead opinion, which found that collective bargaining over a contract with an employer is not a fundamental right for public employees under the constitution. Instead, it’s a benefit that lawmakers can extend or restrict as they see fit, he said.

Conservatives say they believe a legal challenge to Act 10 could make its way to the Supreme Court if Protasiewicz is elected and liberal justices take a 4-3 majority on the court. Protasiewicz faces conservative Dan Kelly, a former state Supreme Court Justice, in the April 4 election.

Kelly wrote a September 2012 blog post saying that Act 10 had saved the state from budgetary woes. He dismissed the merits of one of the legal challenges to the law, writing that “there was no rational relationship between the law and the reasons given for deeming it unconstitutional.”

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Republican state Senate candidate Dan Knodl says if his election gives Senate Republicans a two-thirds majority, he would “certainly consider” support launching impeachment proceedings against Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Janet Protasiewicz.

Wisconsin Republicans are defending a two-thirds majority in the state Senate that they achieved in November but quickly lost after the retirement of longtime GOP state Sen. Alberta Darling of River Hills. If Knodl replaces Darling, Senate Republicans will have enough members to be able to remove state officials who are impeached by the state Assembly.

The Wisconsin Constitution allows lawmakers to remove state officials “for corrupt conduct in office, or for crimes and misdemeanors,” but Knodl said Sunday he would consider launching impeachment proceedings for criminal justice officials “who have failed” at their jobs.

Knodl, of Germantown, faces Democratic environmental lawyer Jodi Habush Sinykin of Whitefish Bay in the April 4 special election to replace Darling. The district represents areas of the north and northwest suburbs of Milwaukee.

In an appearance on WISN-TV’s political talk show “UpFront,” Knodl said the “Milwaukee County justice system is failing” and said he believes its prosecutors and circuit court judges “need to be looked at” including Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and Protasiewicz.

“She has failed,” Knodl said. When asked directly if he would support impeaching Protasiewicz, Knodl said “I certainly would consider it.”

Knodl did not immediately say whether his comments meant he would consider voting in favor of impeaching Protasiewicz if she is elected to the state Supreme Court on Tuesday.

“It simply gives us some more authority in the areas of oversight and accountability of elected officials or appointed officials,” Knodl told WISN-TV. “If there are some out there who are corrupt, who are failing at their tasks, we have an opportunity to hold them accountable.”

“I feel the Milwaukee County justice system is failing and that includes prosecution, so DA Chisholm I think should be looked at,” he said. “The circuit court judges I think have failed the community by releasing or not having high enough bail on these criminals, the perpetrators. And so, they need be looked at — Janet Protasiewicz is a circuit court judge right now in Milwaukee and she has failed.”

Sam Roecker, spokesman for Protasiewicz, did not directly respond to Knodl’s comments.

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Gov. Tony Evers has directed that flags to be flown at half-staff in the state Tuesday to honor a Wisconsin soldier who died in World War II and whose remains were recently identified.

Evers’ order directs that U.S. flags and Wisconsin state flags be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset Tuesday to honor U.S. Army Private First Class William LaVerne “Sonny” Simon.

Simon’s remains will be buried Tuesday with full military honors in his hometown of Middleton, Wisconsin, nearly 80 years after he died in Germany.

“A decorated military veteran, Private Simon served our state and country well, giving his life in defense of the values and freedoms we hold most dear,” Evers said Monday in a statement.

Simon was a member of Company G, 2nd Battalion, 109th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, when he was reported unaccounted for on Nov. 5, 1944, during the Battle of the Hürtgen Forest in Germany.

—Wisconsin AP

The horrible task of counting began before noon.

How many children and staff members had gone into Covenant School (in Nashville) on Monday morning, and how many had come out alive after the gunshots?

Frantic administrators and teachers, tearful parents and first responders hurried to get that count finished. Parents were routed to nearby Woodmont Baptist Church waiting, hopefully, to be reunited with their children.

And they waited.

In fear. In shock. In anger. They waited for more understanding in a situation where none would be forthcoming.

The morning was filled with the sound of sirens.

The news they heard just after noon was devastating: Three children and three school staff members were killed. Police said they were Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all age 9, and staff members Katherine Koonce, 60, the head of school, and Cynthia Peak, 61 and Mike Hill, 61.

Police identified the shooter as 28-year-old Audrey Elizabeth Hale, who police killed at the scene. Hale was a former student at The Covenant School, according to police.

Police identified the shooter by his name at birth and did not provide another name. He was a transgender man who used male pronouns. The police initially identified him as a woman.

Hale was an illustrator and graphic designer who had two semi-automatic rifles and a handgun, police said.

The shooter entered the school just after 10 a.m. through a side door, began shooting on the first floor and then moved to the second. The first call to police came at 10:13 a.m. Five police officers confronted Hale on the second floor, and two opened fire, killing the shooter at 10:27 a.m.

Police found the suspected shooter’s car at the scene.

—The Nashville Tennessean

The Biden White House will probably push the usual talking points about banning so-called assault weapons, which will be echoed by their allies on the gun control issue. Unlike the shootings at Michigan State University and East High School in Denver, Colorado, this perpetrator had a handgun and two AR-15-style rifles. You can already hear the anti-gun Left licking their lips—now they had a chance to score some points. Except they can’t, Audrey Hale was identified as the shooter, and this person was transgender. Hale was shot and killed by police during the assault.

There is a manifesto and maps of potential targets. This shooter planned this attack, and given the setting; a hate crime cannot be ruled out. The lingering question will remain unresolved since a transgender mass shooter is one story the media will avoid like the plague. Authorities said they have a working theory on a motive but are unwilling to disclose it at this time.

The shooters at MSU and East High School were black. This one was transgender. The shelf life of this heinous school shooting isn’t going to last past the week for reasons you already know: the past string of mass shootings does not fit the liberal media narrative. When the weapon of choice isn’t an AR-15 rifle, the clock to expiration starts ticking. When members of a community the media loathes to expound upon when they’re the prime suspects in crimes, especially violent ones, the timeline to move on to the next subject is accelerated immensely.

As I’m writing this, CNN’s Erin Burnett is already moved on how Ukrainians are running out of weapons again, so that’s a gauge of how other networks might respond to this shooting.

—Matt Vespa, Townhall

A staffer for Sen. Rand Paul was stabbed and seriously injured in Washington, D.C., on Saturday and a suspect has since been arrested, according to police and Paul’s office.

“This past weekend a member of my staff was brutally attacked in broad daylight in Washington, D.C.,” Paul, R-Ky,. said in a statement to ABC News on Monday. “I ask you to join [wife] Kelley and me in praying for a speedy and complete recovery, and thanking the first responders, hospital staff, and police for their diligent actions.”

Paul’s office has not publicly identified the staffer.

According to a police report obtained by ABC News, officers first responded Saturday around 5:15 p.m. to a call about a stabbing on the 1300 block of H Street Northeast in the district.

The victim was treated on the scene for “stab wounds” and was seen by a witness “bleeding from the head,” the report states.

According to one of two witnesses cited in the report, the suspect had “popped out of the corner” and stabbed the Paul staffer multiple times as he and the witness were walking. The victim “was able to grab [the suspect’s] arms” and the witness with him tackled the suspect, “leading to a struggle between the parties,” the report states. Then, the victim and the witness ran as the suspect fled.

The first witness shouted to another about what was happening and that person called the authorities while they aided the victim, according to the report.

On Monday, D.C. police said that 42-year-old Glynn Neal, a D.C. resident, was arrested later on Saturday and had been charged with assault with intent to kill, wielding a knife, in connection with the attack. Court filings state that he has told officers he heard a voice was going to get him before the attack occurred.

Paul’s staffer was hospitalized “for treatment of life-threatening injuries,” police said, but further information about his condition was not available.

—ABC News

Former President Donald Trump claims that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has “dropped” an investigation into him over the “hush money” payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Trump, 76, made the assertion while speaking to reporters on his jet after a campaign rally in Waco, Texas, Axios reported.

“I think they’ve already dropped the case,” Trump said. “It’s a fake case. Some fake cases, they have absolutely nothing.”

Trump didn’t say what led him to believe he was off the hook.

A spokesperson for Bragg, a Democrat, declined to comment Sunday on Trump’s remarks but pointed to an unrelated Saturday statement that referred to the Daniels hush money probe as “an ongoing matter.”

—NY Post

For many Americans, grabbing a latte or a hot tea from a coffee shop is as habitual as brushing their teeth. You know the routine: Leave the house at 8:00 a.m., pick up your Starbucks drink at 8:15, and get to work by 8:30.

Coffee and tea help us get through the Monday–Friday grind.

But according to recent research, when we drink hot coffee or tea from disposable paper cups, we’re ingesting thousands of health-damaging microplastics.

Though one might not think a paper cup would contain plastic, almost all paper dishware utilizes microplastics as a sealant.

Two separate studies showed that when hot liquid is poured into paper cups, microplastics leach from the coating into the hot liquid, thereby turning a cup of coffee or tea into a microplastic elixir.

In one study published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, researchers discovered that consuming hot liquid from a standard 12-ounce paper cup results in the ingestion of roughly 88,000 microplastic particles, if not more.

After a year of drinking just one cup of coffee or tea from a paper cup daily, the total amount of microplastic particles consumed would be over 32 million.

When heated to between 185 and 194 degrees Fahrenheit, paper cups were shown to release thousands of microplastics into the liquid. For reference, most lattes are served at around 160 degrees while brewed coffee is served at 190 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Researchers in another study also discovered that paper cups “do not appear to release fewer microplastic particles than plastic cups.”

As they concluded in the study published in Science of the Total Environment, “microplastic debris released from the cups as a type of exposure source to humans should be cause for grave concern.”

The impact of microplastics on the health of ocean ecosystems has rightfully seen widespread media coverage. Biodegradable straws and saving sea turtles have become a widespread environmental cliché. What is untold, however, is the immediate threat microplastics pose to human health, particularly hormone and reproductive health.

From the air we breathe to the water we drink, it has become an impossible feat to avoid microplastics altogether. Even so, we can reduce our microplastic exposure by thousands—if not millions—of particles if we choose to forgo paper cups.

Instead of drinking your favorite tea or coffee from a disposable cup, consider using a stainless steel thermos or a ceramic mug. This simple switch might be the catalyst that restores your health and fertility.

—The Epoch Times


The Wall Street Journal has conducted a poll with the most interesting results. From 1998 to the present, the percentage of Americans who say that patriotism is an important value has crashed from 70 percent to 38 percent. The bulk of the fall has happened since 2019.

Indeed, there is a growing cultural movement, extending from academia to the mainstream, that encourages loathing of American history and its achievements. No “founding father” is safe from being called the worst-possible names. Hatred of this country has risen to be an expected norm. But the problem goes deeper even.

When you are locked in your home, your business is closed, your church is shut, your neighbors are screaming at you to mask up, then the doctors come at you with shots you don’t want, and you are further prevented from leaving the country to anywhere but Mexico, and the president calls the unvaccinated enemies of the people, sure, one can imagine that affections for the homeland decline.

But there is another important pillar of patriotism. It is about trust in the civic institutions of the country. These include schools, courts, politics, and all the institutions of government at all levels. Civic trust in these are surely at rock bottom. The courts did not protect us. The schools shut, particularly the public ones which are supposed to be the crowning achievement of Progressive ideology. Our doctors turned on us.

The media too turned on regular people for three years, calling our parties super-spreader events, jeering pastors who held worship services, demonizing live concerts, and screaming at everyone to stay home and stay glued to the tube.

Patriotism was supposed to mean staying home and staying safe, masking up, social distancing, complying with every random edict no matter how ridiculous, and finally getting jabbed once, twice, three times, and more forever, despite the lack of medical vulnerability for vast swaths of the public.

We should in no way be surprised that the public these days is not feeling very patriotic. And yes, this is very sad in many ways. But it is also what happens when patriotism is hijacked by the state and industry to shatter our hopes and dreams. We tend to learn from our errors. So when the pollsters come around and ask if we are feeling patriotic, it’s hardly unusual that people would respond: not really.

And we could say the same about the other poll result: the importance of religion has fallen from 62 percent in 1998 to 39 percent in 2022. Again the bulk of the crash happened after 2019. No question that the nation was already trending secular. But what are we to think when two successive seasons of Easter and Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) were canceled by the civic elites with full cooperation from the mainstream of religious leaders?

In the final results of the poll, the importance of having children went from 59 percent to 39 percent and the importance of community involvement peaked at 62 at the height of lockdowns to fall to an astounding 27 percent.

Again, the culprit here seems pretty obvious: it was the pandemic response. All the policies were structured to shatter human relationships. People are nothing but disease vectors. Stay away from everyone. Don’t become a super-spreader by daring to hang around others. Be alone. Be lonely. That’s the only proper way.

Finally, among the only things that are rising concern the importance of money. That’s probably because real income has been declining for the better part of two years and inflation is gutting our standards of living. Once again, pandemic policies are the culprit. They spent trillions and the money printers matched that spending nearly dollar for dollar, watering down the value of a previously reliable currency.

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

I could fill pages on each of these items, but I’m not going to dwell on them. I do, however, believe they are worth bringing to your attention so you can make sure your friends and family members are also informed.

• USA Today labeled a man as one of its “Women of the Year.” So much for accuracy in reporting. The left continues its war on normalcy by embracing insanity and is erasing women in the process.

• The left-wing media aren’t simply misleading us with biased reporting. They’re actually celebrating their lies and deceit.

• California’s $640 billion reparations plan is twice the state’s annual budget. Imagine the taxes that would have to be imposed to cover that fiscal insanity! Not to be outdone, San Francisco’s reparations scheme costs 12.5 times the city’s annual budget, amounting to a tax of $600,000 on every non-African American household in the city!

• Leftist universities continue to embrace segregation. Grand Valley State University in Michigan is hosting at least five different graduation ceremonies segregated by race and “gender identity.” How does dividing us bring us together? Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., must be rolling over in his grave.

• Washington, D.C., may cut its bus service in half in order to save money so it can buy expensive electric buses that will run fewer routes, moving fewer people. How’s that for liberal logic?!

—Gary Bauer

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – In 1944, a Swedish housewife in her mid-30s, Astrid Lindgren, sprained her ankle so badly that she was confined to bed and finally put pen to paper transcribing the bedtime stories she’d been telling her 10-year-old daughter Karin for years.

Pippi Longstocking, the red-haired, freckled character, became a “new role model for female assertiveness” and the chapter books were translated into 76 languages from Arabic to Zulu.

Pippi was named by Lindgren’s daughter, who asked her mother for a get-well story when she was off school. Unconventional with superhuman strength—able to lift her horse one-handed—she is playful and unpredictable. She often makes fun of unreasonable adults, especially if they are pompous and condescending. Her anger comes out in extreme cases, such as when a man ill-treats his horse. The daughter of a buccaneer captain—with adventure stories to prove it—Pippi, like Peter Pan, has no interest in growing up.

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