NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Monday, April 3, 2023

Briefs are posted every weekday morning, M-F


Residents across a wide swath of the United States raced Sunday to assess the destruction from fierce storms that spawned possibly dozens of tornadoes from the South and the Midwest into the Northeast, killing at least 32 people.

The storms tore a path through the Arkansas capital and also collapsed the roof of a packed concert venue in Illinois, stunning people throughout the region with the scope of the damage.

The number of deaths continued to grow Sunday.

Confirmed or suspected tornadoes in 11 states destroyed homes and businesses, splintered trees, and laid waste to neighborhoods.

It may take days to confirm all the recent tornadoes.

Residents of Wynne, Arkansas, a community of about 8,000 people 50 miles west of Memphis, Tennessee, woke Saturday to find the high school’s roof shredded and its windows blown out. At least four people died.

Ashley Macmillan said she, her husband and their children huddled with their dogs in a bathroom as a tornado passed, “praying and saying goodbye to each other, because we thought we were dead.” A falling tree seriously damaged their home, but they escaped unhurt.

Rachel Milam lived in the basement with her 6-year-old daughter, while her mother and her mother’s boyfriend lived upstairs in their home on the outskirts of Waynesboro, Tennessee.

All squeezed into the bathroom of the cinder block basement Friday night as the tornado approached and made whooshing sounds like a washing machine.

“As it ripped the roof off, the shower curtain fell,” Milam, 26, said Sunday. “So I’m trying to dig through the shower curtain and see. I saw darkness and then rain started to fall.”

Then absolute terror.

“And the house—I watched it pick up and move … about six inches and then pick up and it was gone.”

“I was just thinking it’s gonna take the tub, like we’re going to be gone,” she said.

A piece of wood fell over them. So did a mirror. “We were fine and just thankful that we made it out alive,” Milam said.

Jeffrey Day said he called his daughter after seeing on the news that their community of Adamsville was being hit. Huddled in a closet with her 2-year-old son as the storm passed over, she answered the phone screaming.

“She kept asking me, ‘What do I do, daddy?’” Day said, tearing up. “I didn’t know what to say.”

After the storm passed, his daughter crawled out of her destroyed home and drove to nearby family.

—Associated Press

A special election to fill an open Wisconsin Senate seat will determine whether Republicans gain a supermajority that would allow them to impeach Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and other office holders as well as move the GOP a step closer to overriding gubernatorial vetoes.

Voters on Tuesday will pick Democrat Jodi Habush Sinykin or Republican state Rep. Dan Knodl to represent Milwaukee’s northern suburbs. The seat has been under Republican control for decades but came open in November after longtime incumbent Alberta Darling chose to retire after 30 years in the Senate. Evers scheduled a special election to fill the position to coincide with the state’s spring Supreme Court election.

The stakes are huge. A Knodl win would give Republicans 22 votes in the chamber, enough to override gubernatorial vetoes if the state Assembly also votes to do so and enough to convict civil officers in impeachment trials.

—Wisconsin AP

Democrat’s plan of destroying former President Trump is backfiring, causing the liberal media to panic that Trump’s indictment could make him a stronger candidate in the 2024 election.

CNN is urging the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to refrain from releasing Trump’s mugshot to the public, in fear it may make him more famous than he already is.

Liberal guest David Axelrod said that Trump would turn his mugshot photo into iconic novelty items, boosting his chances of taking the crown away from Democrats in 2024.

“One thing I want to say about how he [Trump] is handled on Tuesday if I were the DA, if I were to advise him, and I’m not a lawyer, I’m a political strategist, but I would give him every courtesy that I could. I would certainly not handcuff him. I think he would love that picture,” Axelrod said. “I would make very sure that that booking photo is not released. He would turn it into t-shirts and turn himself into Che Guevara there as an iconic image.”

Axelrod claimed Tuesday’s reported surrender of Trump would turn him into a spectacle that will play out into the former president’s political strategy.

Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley also claimed that Trump’s mugshot would be a historical artifact as iconic as the wanted poster of Abraham Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth.

“Now we’re set up to see the biggest reality show that’s come to life … I can’t even think of an artifact except maybe ‘Wanted: John Wilkes Booth’ after the Lincoln assassination of a wanted poster or a mug shot that’s going to be circulating around the world in a kind of way this one of Donald Trump is,” Brinkley said during an appearance on CNN.

—Sarah Arnold, Townhall

The world has seen many memorable photos of Donald Trump, from those of him taking the oath as U.S. president to those of him taking a swing on the golf course.

But none may prove as memorable as the Trump picture that’s likely to be taken Tuesday, and possibly released soon thereafter. Namely, the mug shot from his expected booking following his indictment by a Manhattan grand jury.

Indeed, media, marketing and pop-culture experts told MarketWatch that such a photo, if made available by law-enforcement authorities, may prove itself the most famous image of the 21st Century — at least to date — since it shows something previously unthinkable: that a former president has been arrested.

“It could become the cultural icon of our time,” says Craig Agranoff, a Florida-based marketing executive.

Certainly, in the short term, Peter W. Cross, a former newspaper photo director turned freelance photographer, says there’s no question the image would be widely distributed.

“It will be in every mainstream newspaper in the country and probably around the world,” Cross says, adding that he’d devote an entire front page to it if he was still in the business of making such decisions.

It goes beyond just that. The photo could be seen on T-shirts, posters, coffee mugs and just about every form of merchandise that you can imagine, experts say. Agranoff says it would also likely inspire Halloween costumes.


Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Sunday that Democrats shouldn’t “celebrate” or “brag” about the indictment of former President Donald Trump during her show on Sunday.

The MSNBC host encouraged Democrats to stay out of it and keep their heads down with regard to the indictment news. She insisted it was “not the time” for a “mass order of ‘lock him up’ t-shirts.”

“Now is also not the time for Democratic candidates to celebrate, to brag, to predict the outcome of the legal cases. If you can, I’d actually just put your head down and stay out of it for now,” she continued.

“If you’re sitting in the White House right now, you are making the right bet that the public cares a whole lot more about what the president is doing to actually make their lives better than what he thinks about a hush money payment to adult film star. It turns out their intended campaign message, the Biden team’s, of competence versus chaos may actually even play out before he enters the race. They don’t need to spell out and project what chaos means on the Republican side, the leading candidates, leaders in the House, are doing that for them,” she said.

Psaki noted a poll that found 90% of Republicans, 70% of Independents and nearly 30% of Democrats believed the Manhattan District Attorney’s case against Trump was politicized.

—FOX News

Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee plans this week to propose placing armed guards at every school in his state, and he indicated that he is open to some gun reform measures in the wake of the shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville that left six dead.

While it still needs legislative approval, Lee’s plan would expand a proposal to station armed guards at all public schools in Tennessee and give grant funding to allow private schools to also hire armed guards, The Tennessean reported.

The state cannot require private schools to hire armed guards, but it can require the guards hired by private schools to have the same level of training as those in public schools.

That means the new plan could apply to Covenant School, a private Presbyterian school where 28-year-old Audrey Hale killed three nine-year-olds and three staffers in their 60s last week.

The plan would also ask for more mental health support in schools.

Lee stressed the importance of safety while still respecting the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

“There’s a balance between protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens and protecting the public from those who intend harm,” he said.

“That’s going to be the way I look at every piece of legislation and every new proposal going forward.”

—Just the News

A college professor at Wayne State University in Michigan, Steven Shaviro, was suspended without pay after posting on Facebook that it would be better for students to kill their political opponents rather than just protest against them.

“I think it is far more admirable to kill a racist, homophobic, or transphobic speaker than it is to shout them down,” Shaviro said on Facebook, according to Fox News.

“When right-wing groups invite such speakers to campus, it is precisely because they want to provoke an incident that discredits the left, and gives more publicity and validation to these reprehensible views than they could otherwise attain,” he wrote.

“The protesters get blamed instead of the bigoted speaker; the university administration finds a perfect excuse to side publicly with the racists or phobes; the national and international press has a field day saying that bigots are the ones being oppressed, rather than the people those bigots actually hate being the victims of oppression,” the post continued.

Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson condemned the post in an email to the students and said that the university notified the police.

—Just the News

The Biden administration is preparing to implement a sweeping nationwide ban on commonly used light bulbs as part of its energy efficiency and climate agenda.

The regulations, which prohibit retailers from selling incandescent light bulbs, were finalized by the Department of Energy (DOE) in April 2022 and are slated to go into effect on Aug. 1, 2023. The DOE will begin full enforcement of the ban on that date, but it has already urged retailers to begin transitioning away from the light bulb type and, in recent months, begun issuing warning notices to companies.

Under the rules, incandescent and similar halogen light bulbs will be prohibited in favor of light-emitting diode, or LED, alternatives. While U.S. households have increasingly switched to LED light bulbs since 2015, fewer than half of households reported using mostly or exclusively LEDs, according to the most recent results from the Residential Energy Consumption Survey.

Overall, 47% use mostly or only LEDs, 15% use mostly incandescent or halogens, and 12% use mostly or all compact fluorescent (CFL), with another 26% reporting no predominant bulb type, the federal data showed. In December, the DOE introduced separate rules banning CFL bulbs, paving the way for LEDs to be the only legal light bulbs to purchase.

According to the survey data, LEDs are also far more popular in higher-income households, meaning the energy regulations will particularly impact lower-income Americans. While 54% of households with an income of more than $100,000 per year used LEDs, just 39% of households with an income of $20,000 or less used LEDs.

“We believe that further regulatory interference in the marketplace is unwarranted given that more energy efficient lighting choices, namely light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, are already available for those consumers who prefer them over incandescent bulbs,” a coalition of free market and consumer groups opposed to incandescent bulb bans wrote in a comment letter to the DOE last year.

“While LEDs are more efficient and generally longer-lasting than incandescent bulbs, they currently cost more than incandescent bulbs and are inferior for certain functions such as dimming,” the letter continued. “Consumers are best served by retaining the choice between incandescent bulbs and LEDs rather than regulating incandescent bulbs off the market.”

—FOX News

LSU’s Angel Reese waved her hand in front of her face while staring down Caitlin Clark, then pointed toward her finger as if to say a ring was coming while walking toward the Iowa star.

The gestures late in the Tigers’ 102-85 victory in the NCAA championship game Sunday lit up social media, with comments supporting the “Bayou Barbie” for trash talk that’s just part of the game and condemning her for lacking grace in victory.

The bubbly junior from Baltimore, who transferred from Maryland to join flamboyant LSU coach Kim Mulkey, was unapologetic in the postgame news conference.

“All year, I was critiqued about who I was,” Reese said. “I don’t fit in a box that y’all want me to be in. I’m too hood. I’m too ghetto. But when other people do it, y’all say nothing. So this was for the girls that look like me, that’s going to speak up on what they believe in. It’s unapologetically you.”

If she saw Reese’s gestures, Clark didn’t seem concerned about them.

“I was just trying to get to the handshake line and shake hands and be grateful that my team was in that position,” said Clark, who scored 30 points. “That’s all you can do is hold your head high, be proud of what you did. All the credit in the world to LSU. They were tremendous.”

—Associated Press


Watching the television ads or reading the mail the last few weeks, a voter could be forgiven for thinking their April ballot features a race for governor or senator, what with the constant references to hot button political issues like redistricting and abortion.

Let’s start by remembering it is a judge that we are electing, a black-robed magistrate of integrity and intellect who should fairly decide the cases and controversies that come before them, not based on their personal values or political preferences but based on the law.

That’s the job of a judge, after all. In her confirmation hearing for the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor put it well: “[J]udges can’t rely on what’s in their heart. They don’t determine the law. Congress makes the laws. The job of a judge is to apply the law. And so it’s not the heart that compels conclusions in cases. It’s the law. The judge applies the law to the facts before that judge.”

This means three things: In criminal cases, it means recognizing and protecting the rights of the accused provided in the Constitution, and then ensuring that victims receive justice and the community is kept safe once guilt has been determined. In civil cases, it means applying contracts as written and ensuring those who violate the rights of others pay, but that lawsuits don’t become a tool to harrass or seek jackpot justice. And in constitutional cases, it means giving full protection to the rights and liberties spelled out in the U.S. and Wisconsin Constitutions, but not inventing new rights not firmly grounded in the text, history, and tradition of those charters.

The records of the two candidates for Supreme Court make Dan Kelly the obvious choice on that standard. Janet Protasiewicz has been campaigning by sharing her “values,” telegraphing her political preferences to voters with a brazen audacity beyond anything we’ve seen in the modern history of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. And her record on the bench is equally disqualifying, displaying a consistent pattern of giving low bail and short sentences for violent criminals. No wonder sheriffs, district attorneys, and law enforcement unions are backing Kelly.

By contrast, Kelly’s four years of previous service on the Wisconsin Supreme Court show he is the right choice on Tuesday. In case after case, Kelly decided the questions presented based on the law as written. These opinions show his style: deeply thoughtful, carefully crafted, and committed to the Constitution. Which is exactly what we should want in a judge.

—Daniel R. Suhr, an attorney in Cedarburg, writing in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The only people who benefit from Donald Trump’s indictment are Trump himself and Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg. A significant chunk of the GOP primary electorate will now rally around the first president ever to be criminally prosecuted (though Ulysses S. Grant was once arrested for speeding in his horse-drawn carriage). Bragg, meanwhile, has set himself up for a Democratic primary win—and therefore election—to whatever New York political office he next seeks.

The big losers are the rule of law and the American people, who get dragged evermore into the Trump-versus-anti-Trump muck rather than being able to focus on real issues.

If you think Trump is a bad man who did bad things and doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near public office, you’re worse off because he’s now a better bet to get the Republican presidential nomination. And any further indictments, either from a federal investigation of improperly handled classified documents or the one in Georgia over subornation of election fraud—both of which stand on firmer legal ground—are now politicized and less likely to end up in any real accountability for Trump. The weakness of Bragg’s case undermines all other potential prosecutions.

If, on the other hand, you think that Trump can do no wrong, you’re worse off, too. Bragg’s prosecution makes it less likely that Trump returns to the White House, even if it improves his chances of being on the ballot in November 2024, because swing voters (whether truly independent or just those alienated by partisan radicalization) are turned off by the Trump Show. The only mandate that Joe Biden won in 2020 was not to be Donald Trump. Biden’s overreach since fulfilling that mandate, as well as his age, makes him a singularly vulnerable incumbent. Perhaps the only Republican whom Biden could beat is Trump, whose electoral ceiling at this point (not enough to win a general election) is about at the same level as his floor (enough to win a primary).

And if you just want to see American politics return to a “normal” state, well, you’re also worse off, for reasons I need not spell out.

There may not even be a final verdict here. Trump’s lawyers will move to dismiss the indictment on multiple grounds. First, it’s a stretch to find that an improper recording of a hush-money payment as a legal expense is criminal. Second, this kind of ticky-tack misdemeanor is barred by the statute of limitations. Third, the idea that Trump’s bad accounting, even if intentional, becomes a felony (with an extended limitations statute) simply because the purpose of the hush money was to violate federal campaign-finance laws, is fanciful. Particularly because, fourth, this would be an example of targeted prosecution—going after Trump after several prosecutors (including Bragg himself once) had reviewed the same facts and declined to press charges. There’s simply no legitimate reason, such as newly discovered evidence, to revive a cold case years later.

—Ilya Shapiro is a senior fellow and director of constitutional studies at the Manhattan Institute

I would like to point out that if the case is as weak as described—held together by chicken wire and rubber bands (to quote former AG Bill Barr)—then the fact that they are bringing it against Trump means they will look to bring it against you in the future.

The problem for them is—that’s where all the big show stopping moments ended.

And now with in essence 2-3 days to go, what has the dog and pony show produced?

When registered Democrat legal professors Alan Dershowitz and Jonathan Turley pronounce an obligation to side with Trump based on the facts, and neither of them voted for him, what more does one need to understand?

In just under twelve hours after the announcement Team Trump had already raised an excess of $5,000,000.

Within minutes a unified voice in Congress from Republicans in the Senate and House began releasing statements from members of both chambers, roundly condemning the action.

Trump rivals who are likely to run or what have been mentioned as considering running against him, began defending Trump publicly—some of whom are definitely not on the same terms with their former boss.

Ron DeSantis who had not worked for the former President actually got on the record pre-defying what he sees is a corrupt DA office’s coming extradition demand.

On Saturday new polls began being released. Every poll published this far lacks a result where the majority of Americans believe that any of this sad drama is legitimate.

—Talk show host/Columnist Kevin McCullough

There are 19 months between now and Election Day 2024. Trust me, what the Democrats have in store to rig the 2024 presidential election through prosecutorial abuse has only just begun.

To begin with, you have to remember just how vile and depraved the Democrat party has become. Democrats are so eager for power and to replace Americans with more compliant illegal immigrants, they are willing to flood our country with the poison of fentanyl and enable sex trafficking, including the trafficking of children.

When you are dealing with a political party and corporate media this boldly evil, nothing is off limits. Their only morality is that which furthers the fascist cause, and if mutilating and trafficking children further that cause, that makes the mutilation and trafficking moral.

We have 19 months to go.

Wrap your minds around that: 19 months.

Over 19 months, we can easily see a trial taking place and a verdict coming down.

Over 19 months, you can bet your life Bragg will pursue additional indictments.

Over 19 months, you can expect another indictment from a corrupt Democrat district attorney in Georgia, then possibly another trial, this one in Atlanta.

Over the next 19 months, we will see corrupt prosecutors, lawyers, juries, and judges abuse their power and office to create as many political tripwires as possible to rig the 2024 election.

Do not be surprised if Trump is convicted, denied bail, and taken to prison in handcuffs.

The goal is to distract attention from the failing state of our country, gin up the Democrat base, and further the cause of Trump exhaustion.

Again, you cannot put anything past a political party willing to hold on to power through the mutilation of children.

We are in for a long 19 months.

—John Nolte, Breitbart News

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – In 1968 at an event for the Memphis sanitation workers strike, American civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his Mountaintop Speech; the following day he was assassinated.

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