NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Briefs are posted every weekday morning, M-F


After nearly a year of searching, investigators used DNA pulled from a half-eaten burrito to capture the man they believe firebombed a prominent Wisconsin anti-abortion lobbying group’s office.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Madison announced that police arrested 29-year-old Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury at Boston’s Logan International Airport on Tuesday. He was charged via the complaint with one count of attempting to cause damage by means of fire or an explosive.

He made an initial appearance in federal court in Boston on Tuesday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Donald L. Cabell set a detention hearing for Thursday.

Federal agents have been searching for almost a year for whoever tossed a pair of Molotov cocktails into the Wisconsin Family Action office in Madison on May 6. One of the firebombs failed to ignite; the other set a bookcase on fire. The message “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either” was spray-painted on the building’s exterior. No one was in the office at the time.

The attack came about a week after a draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision that legalized abortion, leaked. The release sparked abortion rights supporters to mount protests across the country. Two Catholic churches in Colorado were vandalized in the days leading up to the Madison firebombing. And someone threw Molotov cocktails into an anti-abortion organization’s office in a suburb of Salem, Oregon, several days later.

—Wisconsin AP

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson this week expressed doubts over the impact of continued U.S. assistance to Ukraine in its fight against Russia, calling the war unwinnable for either side and suggesting the warring nations need to negotiate an end to the conflict.

“At some point people are going to have to understand the reality of the situation,” the Wisconsin Republican told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Tuesday. “I don’t see a scenario, and I’ve asked — I mean, where is there a path to victory from our standpoint? All I see is a grinding stalemate that day-by-day more people get killed and more of Ukraine gets destroyed.”

Johnson said the war is a “lose-lose-lose for everybody” and added: “Nobody can win at this point. They should start negotiating.”

The comments come as Republicans have become increasingly divided on whether to continue providing financial aid and military equipment to help Ukraine defend itself against the Russian invasion. Much of the dissent has spawned from a far-right faction of House Republicans who have derided Washington’s spending on the war and called for a “peace agreement.”

Washington approved more than $100 billion in weaponry and financial assistance to Ukraine over the past year.

Johnson this week said he does not see things getting better in Ukraine.

On Sunday, he told Fox News that the war “is not a popular thing” in Wisconsin and said that, at this point in the war, “this just grinds down because nobody’s going to be bombing Moscow cities to reduce the popular support for the war in Russia.”

Johnson suggested that “weakness” from the Biden Administration emboldened Putin to invade Ukraine.

“There was a moment in time I think we could have dissuaded him from going in,” Johnson said. “There was a moment in time when he was back on his heels. Maybe had we surged enough military equipment there we maybe could have spanked him hard enough to get him to withdraw.”

Of Putin, Johnson added: “He’s not going to win. His ability to win was pretty much out the window in the first couple weeks when he wasn’t able to totally take over Ukraine… There’s no win for him. He can’t win, but he won’t lose.”

“I’m not saying this is easy,” Johnson said. “I just hate seeing, from the U.S. side, kind of the constant drums of war around here.”

“We need to be very careful about what we could stumble into.”

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The shooter who killed six people including three children at a Christian private school in Nashville planned to strike other targets, according to police.

Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) Chief John Drake told CBS News on Tuesday that 28-year-old Audrey Elizabeth Hale, who on Monday stormed into The Covenant School and went on a killing rampage before responding officers fatally wounded her, had other targets.

“We strongly believe there was going to be some other targets, including maybe family members, and one of the malls here in Nashville,” Drake said. “And that just did not happen.”

Police earlier said that Hale’s attack was “calculated and planned,” including a detailed map of the school showing potential entry points, and that she conducted surveillance of the building before carrying out the massacre.

Hale was heavily armed with two semi-automatic rifles and a 9 millimeter handgun and a “significant” amount of ammunition, police said. A search warrant executed at her home uncovered more evidence, including a sawed-off shotgun.

—The Epoch Times

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has called on the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to investigate the shooting at a private school in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 27 as a hate crime against Christians.

The Nashville Police Department (NPD) identified 28-year-old Audrey Hale as the shooter of six people, including three 9-year-old children, who were confirmed to have been killed at The Covenant School.

Police Chief John Drake identified Hale as transgender, and a LinkedIn page that was allegedly associated with Hale indicated that she used “he/him” pronouns in her biography.

The NPD said Hale was also a former student at the school and was being treated by a physician for an “emotional disorder.”

In his letter to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Hawley called the shooting a targeted attack.

“An individual identified by police killed six people—students Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, and employees Cynthia Peak, Katherine Koonce, and Michael Hill—in a murderous rampage at a Christian school known as The Covenant School,” Hawley wrote.

“I urge you to immediately open an investigation into this shooting as a federal hate crime,” Hawley said. “The full resources of the federal government must be brought to bear to determine how this crime occurred, and who may have influenced the deranged shooter to carry out these horrific crimes. Hate that leads to violence must be condemned. And hate crimes must be prosecuted.”

—The Epoch Times

Donald Trump can breathe easy again as the Manhattan Grand Jury won’t be convening to review the case regarding hush money payments the former president made to ex-porn star Stormy Daniels.

Trump stirred a massive media storm when he announced this month that he would be arrested, calling for protests should he be yanked away in handcuffs by police. The New York Police Department was fully mobilized should District Attorney Alvin Bragg issue an indictment, with barricades being erected outside the courthouse. No arrest warrant was issued, and the grand jury didn’t reconvene last week.

And now, we’re learning that this investigative body won’t meet Wednesday to consider possible charges against Trump.


The man who apparently attacked Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) staffer on Saturday had been released from a 12-year prison sentence just one day before the attack was carried out.

Glynn Neal, the alleged attacker, was sentenced to 12 years and four months in prison in 2011 on charges of “compelling an individual to live a life of prostitution without his or her consent” and “threat to kidnap to injure a person,” per Fox 5.

The report noted that Paul staffer Phillip Todd was approached by Neal on a street in Washington, DC before stabbing Todd, resulting in “life-threatening injuries,” according to Paul’s office.

Paul released a statement, saying: “This past weekend a member of my staff was brutally attacked in broad daylight in Washington, D.C. I ask you to join Kelley and me in praying for a speedy and complete recovery, and thanking the first responders, hospital staff, and police for their diligent actions. We are relieved to hear the suspect has been arrested. At this time we would ask for privacy so everyone can focus on healing and recovery.”

The DC Police Department posted on Twitter, saying that the Metropolitan Police had made an arrest. The arrest was reportedly made in reference to “an Assault with Intent to Kill (Knife).”

The crime comes at a time when the Washington, DC city council had recently proposed a change that would see penalties for violent crimes reduced, but Congress stepped in and President Joe Biden slapped down the proposition.

—Post Millennial

As federal spending continues to rise, accumulated federal debt will soon reach all‐time highs relative to the size of the economy. Federal debt held by the public will hit 107 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2028, surpassing the previous peak after World War II. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) often highlights the rising debt‐to‐GDP ratio as a warning for policymakers to change course and avert a debt crisis.

Another warning sign of a coming debt crisis is soaring interest costs. With interest rates rising, federal interest payments have doubled from 1.2 percent of GDP in 2015 to 2.4 percent in 2023. The government will pay $640 billion in net interest this year.

—CNS News

Company loyalty is a double-edged sword, according to a new study. Managers target loyal workers over less committed colleagues when doling out unpaid work and additional job tasks.

“Companies want loyal workers, and there is a ton of research showing that loyal workers provide all sorts of positive benefits to companies,” said Matthew Stanley, Ph.D., the lead researcher on the new paper and postdoctoral researcher at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. “But it seems like managers are apt to target them for exploitative practices.”

That’s the main conclusion from a series of experiments conducted by Stanley and his colleagues Chris Neck, Ph.D. and Chris Neck, father-and-son researchers at Arizona State University and West Virginia University, respectively.

“It’s a vicious cycle,” Stanley said. “Loyal workers tend to get picked out for exploitation. And then when they do something that’s exploitative, they end up getting a boost in their reputation as a loyal worker, making them more likely to get picked out in the future.”

One reason managers preyed on loyal workers over others is their belief that it’s just the price to pay for being loyal. Stanley and his team found that managers targeted loyal workers because they believe that loyalty comes with a duty to make personal sacrifices for their company.

“Most people want to be good,” Stanley said. “Yet, they transgress with surprising frequency in their everyday lives. A lot of it is due to ethical blindness, where people don’t see how what they’re doing is inconsistent with whatever principles or values they tend to profess.”

One partial cure might be simply having managers recognize the error of their ways and point out these ethical blind spots, Stanley said.

“I don’t want to suggest that the take-away of the paper is to not be loyal to anybody because it just leads to disaster,” Stanley said. “We value people who are loyal. We think about them in positive terms. They get awarded often. It’s not just the negative side. It’s really tricky and complex.”

—Duke Today

Passports will be replaced with heartbeats and luggage will be a thing of the past within 50 years.

That’s according to Easyjet’s far fetched ‘future travel’ predictions for 2070 at least.

The iconic orange-coloured, Luton-based airline has outlined its vision for the future of travel—and it’s almost unrecognisable to what we know of the airport experience today.

According to a number of experts consulted by the firm, airports of the future will scan people’s heartbeats and biometric details instead of asking for a passport.

Easyjet said: “Much like fingerprints and the retina, every person’s cardiac signature is unique.

“Passengers’ heartbeat signatures and biometric details will be logged on a global system in the same way finger-print scanning technology works today.”

Even deeper into the future, they believe that 3D-printed hotel buffet food will become the norm to reduce food waste and that nobody will need luggage anymore because you’ll be able to ‘print’ holiday clothes on arrival.

—The Daily Star

Wisconsin’s season of frustration and missed opportunities ended in fitting fashion in the NIT semifinals.

The Badgers missed their final 10 shots of the game, went scoreless over the final 9 minutes 5 seconds, scored just 13 points in the second half and saw North Texas overcome a 12-point halftime deficit en route to a 56-54 victory Tuesday night at Orleans Arena.

UW’s final possession, after a timeout with 5.8 seconds left, ended with a turnover by Tyler Wahl on a pass to Steven Crowl.

The defeat brought to a close a disappointing season for the Badgers, who finished at 20-15.

“I just feel like the way it ended was kind of a cap to how the season went,” said Wahl, who missed two free throws with 49.4 seconds left and UW trailing, 56-54. “We’d get some good things going and then something happens and (we’d) take a step backward, take a few steps forward and then go backwards.

That was just kind of how it went.”

Head coach Greg Gard and his staff expect most of the key players back next season.

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

UNT is headed to the NIT final after one of the gutsier comeback wins in recent program history.

Wisconsin led nearly the entire game, had a 14-point advantage in the first half and was up eight midway through the second half. That deficit looked huge considering the pace UNT and Wisconsin play at.

UNT overcame that deficit thanks to a remarkable defensive performance late. The Mean Green held the Badgers scoreless for the final 9:07.

Aaron Scott came up with a huge block in the closing seconds and the Mean Green came up with one final stand.

The Badgers had the ball coming out of a timeout with 5.8 seconds left under their basket and got the ball to Tyler Wahl on the baseline. UNT forward Aaron Scott rushed at Wahl, who tried to feed the ball to Steven Crowl on the opposite side of the lane. The ball got away from Crowl, Moulaye Sissoko dove on it and the buzzer sounded as UNT’s players and coaches streamed off the bench.

—Denton (TX) Record-Chronicle


Nashville, Tennessee, is still reeling from the horrific shooting at the Covenant School, which left six people dead, three of whom were children. The private Christian school was targeted by Audrey Hale, whom we’ve learned was transgender. Hale was shot and killed by police in the attack, but he, Hale identified with male pronouns, was armed with two AR-15-style rifles. This story would have dominated the news cycle for days if this were any other situation, like Hale being a white guy.

Instead, it’s a situation where the Left can’t score major political points or hurl trite talking points about gun control. Networks are running for the exits over this story, though social media will have plenty of bad takes that will marinate for weeks. Hale felt there was no other way to be seen unless she killed some people.

Yeah, this is one of those bad takes that will be circulated on social media. The real victim is Hale—is that the take here? There is no excuse for Hale’s actions. Everyone has problems, those impacting LGBT folks aren’t at the top of the heap, nor does it create an excuse to commit a mass shooting. But of course, we shouldn’t be surprised that the radical Left is tossing out the ‘this is tragic but…’ statements in the aftermath of this carnage.

What happened in Nashville was arguably a hate crime committed by an angry transgender who went on a rampage, and it should be given as much time as the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. Instead, it will get the drive-by treatment for obvious political reasons.

—Matt Vespa, Townhall

Do you want the good news or the bad news first? It’s all pretty bad, but let’s get it over with: the share of Americans who say patriotism and religion are “very important” to them has fallen sharply, as has the number of Americans who value involvement in their community, hard work and having children.

These revelations come courtesy of a new Wall Street Journal-NORC poll, complete with a graph depicting our nation’s nosedive. Some nitty-gritty: in 1998, 70 percent of respondents deemed patriotism to be very important; now, that number is 38 percent. Twenty-five years ago, 62 percent said religion was very important; now only 39 percent do.

If Americans don’t believe in God or country, what do they believe in? Money, for one thing. The Journal reports that the only priority “that has grown in importance in the past quarter-century is money, which was cited as very important by 43 percent in the new survey, up from 31 percent in 1998.”

A country that values money above creator and caring for one another is doomed, right? Not necessarily, or at least not yet. Citizens who value money more than the values that once defined America are doomed. Perhaps not physically (though both religion and volunteer activity are associated with health benefits), but emotionally and spiritually, they’ll be deeply dissatisfied.

America’s core values may be fading, but there’s still an ember of influence left that’s worth fanning, as the things that made this country great still have more power to buoy it than the forces pulling it down.

My father cites the sexual revolution as the beginning of the end of American society, and as he was around for it and I was not, I tend to agree with him. As traditional morals went out the window, Tom Wolfe’s “Me Decade” was born. A few more self-centered generations followed, and now here we are. Civic engagement is at an all-time low. Only 58 percent of people responding to the Wall Street Journal poll said “tolerance for others” is very important; four years ago, that number stood at 80 percent.

In its report on the new polling numbers, the Journal interviewed Kevin Williams, a thirty-three-year-old black man from Oregon who volunteers and coaches youth sports, among other things. His theory is that “patriotism is declining as a civic value in tandem with rising individualism, a sense of entitlement among many people and a decline in community involvement, possibly because of people focusing on their own racial or cultural backgrounds rather than what Americans have in common.”

We must lead by example and help the miserable ones see the light: invite your friends to church, join a club or volunteer organization, proudly display an American flag on your porch, talk to your kids about the Constitution, instill in them a selfless spirit, go out of your way to support events and institutions that celebrate what we have in common rather than what divides and destroys, and bug your friends and family to participate, too. They’ll be glad they did.

—-Teresa Mull is an assistant editor at The Spectator World.

Have you seen the latest polls? Probably not, but you’ve likely heard about them. Joe Biden’s approval rating is up, or down. Donald Trump is crushing Ron DeSantis…or he’s losing to him, depending on the poll and how many other candidates are listed. The American people care deeply about whatever and support the exact opposite because why not? What I’m trying to say it polls are worthless, especially this far away from an election, but they serve a purpose for the people conducting them and those conveying the “information” in them, so they won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

You’d think the fact that polling over the last 10-12 years has been about as accurate as a drunken Stevie Wonder at the shooting range would lead media outlets and candidates to stop giving them so much weight, but you’d be wrong. Reporting on polls is easy; meaningless, but easy. It’s making news for the sake of something to talk about and allows various outlets to preach to whatever choir they’ve assembled for themselves, but it is worthless because they’ve become like everything else in political reporting: a giant, vacant wing in the echo chamber.

You can get a poll to say whatever you want it to say, it all has to do with how you word the questions and which questions the pollster asks. From that jumping off point you can literally get anywhere you want to go, facts be damned.

Abortion is the perfect issue to illustrate this. Democrat cite polls that say the American public want abortion to be legal and will talk about the numbers, somewhere around 60 percent. But they will take that number and extrapolate it to mean support for what the Planned Parent wing of the Democrat Party wants, which is abortion on-demand up to the moment the kid goes off to college, or birth.

Republicans cite polls showing the American public supports restrictions on abortion after the first trimester – three months to “make up your mind or it’s too late.” And the public full opposes partial birth abortions, which is something Democrats never acknowledge

All are true, and they have the polls to back it up. But they all miss the most important aspect of the data: is it the issue that motivates someone to vote?

Someone can be as pro-life or pro-abortion as anyone could possibly be, if that isn’t THE ISSUE that motivates their vote it doesn’t matter. A pro-life voter could care more about the economy and vote for a pro-abortion candidate because they’re better on what they care about most, or vice-versa. Neither side bothers reporting on the motivating factor behind someone’s vote, they simply glom onto the numbers that best bolster their case and ignore everything else.

Come election day people are shocked that a district that is very pro-whatever elected someone who isn’t. This is why.

Polls a year before anyone votes are irrelevant, polls before someone even announces they’re running are irrelevant. They are conducted to make news and no other reason.

This won’t stop, and people won’t stop citing them. But if polls were an accurate reflection of anything other than the hopes of the people conducting them we would’ve had President Hillary Clinton. Thank God polls suck. Just don’t forget that fact as we get closer to the primaries and the general election, because it’s not about the change anytime soon because there’s far too much money in it.

—Columnist Derek Hunter

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – 228 years ago today in 1795, German pianist Ludwig van Beethoven debuted at the age of 24 in Vienna. He surpassed his pianist father to become a virtuoso and one of the most influential composers of all time.

He started going deaf several years later and by his mid-40s could hear almost nothing, yet still composed some of his greatest works. He had not performed for 13 years, until he conducted the premiere of his Ninth Symphony. They had to turn him around to see the tumultuous applause of the audience because he could hear neither it nor the orchestra. The masterpiece Ninth Symphony, his final one, also became known as “the Choral Symphony,” because it was the first to use voices– singing the verses of a poem, “Ode to Joy” by Friedrich Schiller, with additions by Beethoven.

Three years after the premiere, he died at the age of 56 in Vienna. Franz Schubert, who died the following year and was buried next to Beethoven, was one of the torchbearers.

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