NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Briefs are posted every weekday morning, M-F


There’s an election Tuesday and Wisconsin loves to vote.

The state consistently ranks among states with the highest voter turnout in the country, though off-year spring elections don’t usually generate the turnout that other elections do.

But with groups across the state reporting millions of voter contacts, spending in the Supreme Court election eclipsing $40 million raising and the balance of the court at stake in the election, experts anticipate near-record turnout for a spring election.

“For a spring election, we’ve had wildly record-breaking ad spending and voter mobilization, voter contacts by both parties,” said Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll. “There’s a limit to how much those things can boost turnout, but all the ingredients are there.”

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

On Tuesday, Wisconsinites will once again head to the polls in a race that has garnered national attention and set national spending records for a judicial race. According to the most recent tally, the two Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates and outside groups have combined for over $45 million in spending. What’s at stake? All of the reforms of the Gov. Scott Walker era, and more.

Home to Walker, former Speaker Paul Ryan, former RNC Chairman and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and conservative star Sen. Ron Johnson, Wisconsin has enjoyed an outsized role in national politics since 2010. Instead of cautiously governing like so many administrations in purple states, Walker and his allies advanced some of the boldest reforms in the nation. Starting with the historic Act 10 that resulted in a siege of the Capitol (and over $15 billion in taxpayer savings), conservatives advanced bold reforms like Right to Work, voter ID, concealed carry, castle doctrine, and a dramatic expansion of school choice.

Now, Wisconsin’s growing leftist base sees an opportunity to overturn all of the hard-fought reforms by flipping the state’s high court. Politico recently proclaimed the race “could be the beginning of the end for GOP dominance.” This would obviously be bad news for conservatives nationally since Wisconsin will undoubtedly play a huge role in who is president in 2025.

—The Federalist

A state constitutional amendment that would make it harder to get out of jail on bail before trial will be decided Tuesday by Wisconsin voters.

The measure, which appears as two separate ballot questions, would allow judges to consider past convictions for violent crimes when setting bail for someone accused of a violent crime. It would also let judges set conditions to protect public safety when releasing someone before trial. If only one of the questions passes, then only that part of the amendment will go into effect.

The amendment’s Republican sponsors say it will make for safer communities. But criminal justice experts warn that it will result in higher cash bail amounts and disproportionately keep poor defendants behind bars.

Support for stricter bail laws in Wisconsin grew after Darrell Brooks drove his SUV through a Christmas parade in Waukesha in 2021, killing six people and injuring more than 60. Brooks was out on $1,000 bail for another charge. His bail for the parade killings was set at $5 million to prevent his release.

—Wisconsin AP

Two rounds of storms are expected to roll into Wisconsin on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Experts at the National Weather Service say the elements needed for another severe weather event, similar to one that brought a handful of tornadoes to southern Wisconsin last week, are already lining up.

“There are still some factors that we are waiting on but we are already starting to see a lot of those ingredients that cause severe weather to happen,” said Taylor Patterson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

With conditions developing in a similar fashion to last week, here is what to know about when and where the storm might hit.

Patterson explained that with a warm front moving in on Tuesday an influx of vertical air is expected to develop in southern Wisconsin. In the Milwaukee area, this could create conditions for hail and strong winds.

Rain is expected to start at 4 p.m. Tuesday and the peak period is likely to last from 5 to 11 p.m. The rain is expected to stop in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday a cold front will blow in bringing another round of rain and winds near 50 mph to the Milwaukee area. Once all is said and done, Milwaukee and other lakeshore communities could see as much as 1½ inches of rain.

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Regents at the University of Wisconsin say they are worried about the growing costs of attaining a college education, but almost every single one of them voted to raise tuition at the state’s campuses.

The UW’s 5% tuition hike passed on a 15-1 vote.

Only Technical College System President Rodney Pasch voted against the increase, saying those are real dollars that real students are going to have to pay.

“Either they have an account, a savings that they can pull it out of, or if they have, if they have a job, they have to work some additional hours, or they have to go in debt. And we know that debt is a certain problem that students are dealing with today,” he said.

Regent Scott Beightol defended the tuition hike as part of inflation.

“It is important to all of us that a UW education continues to be affordable, but as resident tuition rates have been held flat for the past 10 years, inflation has increased a cumulative 26%, and it’s time to use this operational lever,” Beightol said.

The 5% tuition hike is the first for the UW System in a decade, and is earmarked mostly for raises and university employees.

—Just the News

Juan Merchan, the New York Supreme Court judge presiding over former President Trump’s arraignment on Tuesday, has denied a request from media outlets to allow live coverage inside the courtroom.

Instead, a handful of still photographers will be allowed in the courtroom for a few minutes before the hearing begins.

Merchan considered “all relevant factors” in making his decision, including whether it would “interfere with the fair administration of justice… with law enforcement activity, the objections of the Defendant; and limitations related to the physical structure of the courtroom,” Fox News reports.

The use of cell phones, laptops, or other electronic devices will also be prohibited.

Trump’s arraignment is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. at a Manhattan courthouse. He is expected to speak at Mar-a-Lago Tuesday evening.


No one knows exactly how events will play out today in a Manhattan courtroom when former President Donald Trump is arraigned on some kind of business fraud charges stemming from his nondisclosure agreement with a porn star.

David Schoen, an attorney who represented Donald Trump at his second impeachment trial, is not part of this case, but he has some advice for Trump’s current attorneys:

“I think there are at least three motions that ought to be filed immediately after the arraignment,” Schoen told Fox News Monday night.

“One is a motion to dismiss on statute of limitations grounds — very interesting argument there.

“One would be a motion to dismiss and disqualify District Attorney Bragg, I think, based on his campaign statements specifically targeting President Trump and promising to convict him when he wasn’t even under investigation.

“And third, I would personally move to recuse the judge. I think there’s monkey business going on with the judge-shopping process, and I have an historic basis for making that claim. But we’ll see. I don’t think it’s coincidental that he was the judge on the Trump organization case and the Bannon case and now this case. And they, in the past have acknowledged the practice of judge shopping.”

—CNS News

And Then There Were None (ATTWN), a pro-life ministry that focuses on helping abortion workers leave there jobs and find new ones, is urging them to walk out of their jobs this Apr. 7, Good Friday of Holy Week. The initiative is part of the organization’s Exodus 2023 campaign.

ATTWN offers free counseling, healing retreats, assistance with resume writing, and help in landing new jobs.

“There’s no better time to quit the abortion industry than right now,” said Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director in Texas who now runs ATTWN.

“Abortion workers are some of the most overlooked employees in the country with needs that extend far beyond what our culture has even considered addressing,” said Johnson in a press release. “Many of the abortion workers who have left the industry suffer PTSD, have struggled with suicidal thoughts, and have battled some kind of substance abuse.”

“We can help,” she added. “We have helped more than 640 abortion workers leave their jobs and find healing.”

—CNS News

Comedian Bill Maher called for a total “media blackout” when it came to school shooters, arguing that the constant attention often lavished on the perpetrators of such crimes could make the idea of committing similar crimes seem attractive to certain people.

Maher added that he did not want to see anything about the alleged shooters — especially if denying them the publicity they so desired might also discourage the next person from choosing to open fire in a school.

“The other thing I’d like to say about this as we’re — the media — anxiously waiting on all this information about the shooter … how about we have a blackout on the shooters and what they did?” Maher began, to applause from the audience.

“You know, this is … Yesterday was the opening of the baseball season,” Maher continued, adding, “Now, in baseball, when somebody runs on the field, the camera doesn’t show it. They don’t give that person any publicity. Why can’t we at least do that in this country?”

“I don’t want to hear anything about it. We know it happened. I don’t want to know about — I don’t want to know what orientation this person is, how old they are, what their manifesto said. I don’t give a s*** about any of it, because it’s just going to inspire the next one because they all feed on each other,” he added. “That’s the least the media could do.”

—Daily Wire

UConn topped off one of the most impressive March Madness runs in history Monday night, clamping down early and breaking it open late to bring home its fifth national title with a 76-59 victory over San Diego State.

Adama Sanogo had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Tristen Newton also had a double-double with 19 points and 10 boards for the Huskies (31-8), who became the fifth team since the bracket expanded in 1985 to win all six NCAA Tournament games by double-digits on the way to a championship.

Coach Dan Hurley’s Huskies won the six games by an average of an even 20 points, only a fraction less than North Carolina did in sweeping to the title in 2009.

—Associated Press

A giant red spoon that was stolen from an Arizona Dairy Queen and sparked a mystery on social media was found Monday morning, and it’s partly thanks to Pokémon GO.

Michael Foster, 52, was playing the outdoor mobile game when he spotted the 15-foot (4.5-meter) spoon around 7 a.m. It was lying on the ground behind a fence that surrounds a Phoenix middle school baseball field, just 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the scene of the heist.

“The first thing I did was send a picture to my wife and I said, ‘It’s the spoon.’ She said call the police,” Foster told The Associated Press.

“I can confirm the Dairy Queen ‘red spoon’ was located and recovered this morning,” Sgt. Brian Bower said in an email Monday.

Detectives are continuing to search for the suspects who took the spoon, he added. Police are encouraging the public to submit any tips.

Phoenix police over the weekend released surveillance footage from March 25 that showed two men and one woman get the spoon out of its base and put it on a large flatbed connected to a pickup truck.

Owners Raman and Puja Kalra said last week that they hoped to get it back. Getting another spoon made, delivered and then installed would cost over $7,000. They even resorted to creative strategies such as printing T-shirts for staff that said “Where’s My Spoon?”

—Associated Press


My immediate reaction on hearing that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg maneuvered the indictment of Donald Trump in the “hush money” case surrounding Stormy Daniels was that the out-of-control Bragg had just elected Trump as the 47th president of the United States.

My second thought was the fear that he may have instigated a civil war.

But I’ll go with my immediate reaction. It’s better for all of us.

As the Zen Buddhists say, “First thought, best thought.”

Law professor Jonathan Turley is already calling the indictment “legally pathetic,” and that’s about the size of it. You don’t have to be a professor to figure that out.

This is the weaponization of our legal system taken to the nth power: Trump Derangement Syndrome gone berserk.

Most Americans—even many Democrats, though some will be afraid to say so—will see this instantly as a purely political prosecution, as it so obviously is.

What Bragg, in his high dudgeon, probably didn’t think about was that the Republicans actually won the popular vote in the midterm elections by 5 million. He probably just added another 5 million or 10 million—possibly even more.

He may have even extended that Republican majority outside the reach of whatever cheating that his party is alleged to have done or be capable of without genuinely starting a civil war.

—Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, co-founder of PJMedia, and now, editor-at-large for The Epoch Times

People talk about Joe Biden being the weakest president since Jimmy Carter.

But at least Carter was an honorable man. Biden is not honorable about anything – and he isn’t qualified to be the leader of a township Girl Scout troop.

Biden’s weakness shows how important it is for the world to have a strong American president.

To make that point, I like to recount the conversation I had with Margaret Thatcher in June 2004 when my father was buried at his presidential library in Simi Valley.

We happened to be in the same hotel as Lady Thatcher and during breakfast she said, “Michael, think of what we would have accomplished if your dad had been elected in 1976.”

“Lady Thatcher,” I said, “I appreciate that. But had my father been elected in 1976, the Berlin Wall would still be up and the Cold War would be still raging.”

“Why would you say that?” she said.

“Lady Thatcher,” I said, “where were you in 1976? Where were Lech Walesa and Vaclav Havel and Helmut Kohl and Pope John Paul and Mikhail Gorbachev? None of you were in power.

“But in 1980, when my father was elected, you all were in places of power or about to be, but you were looking to the USA for strong leadership.”

It took Ronald Reagan to bring all those great European leaders together to make it possible to defeat the Soviet Union, provide the necessary military might and ultimately bring down the Berlin Wall without a shot being fired.

—Michael Reagan

It is apparently news to a whole lot of people that women, women athletes in particular, are not shrinking violets.

They talk trash every bit as much as male athletes, and they’re equally adept at handling being on the receiving end of it. They don’t need their feelings spared, and they most certainly don’t need anyone inviting them to the White House so everyone feels good about themselves and no one feels left out.

These are Division I college athletes. They stopped getting excited by participation trophies years ago — if they ever were.

“A JOKE” Angel Reese said on Twitter in response to the news First Lady Jill Biden wants to invite both national champion LSU and runner-up Iowa to the White House.

Reese is right. That’s not how this works, and LSU should not have to share its hard-earned spotlight because some people can’t wrap their heads around the fact women are not special snowflakes who can’t handle disappointment or adversity.

“I’m going to tell Joe I think Iowa should come, too, because they played such a good game,” Jill Biden said Monday during an appearance in Denver.

Biden’s idea is insulting to LSU. The Tigers won their first national title in decisive fashion, and they don’t owe concessions to anyone. About anything. But it’s also insulting to Iowa, implying the Hawkeyes are such delicate flowers they need to be propped up emotionally by a visit to the White House.

What, are the President or First Lady going to pat the Hawkeyes on the head, too? Give them lollipops and tell them how hard they played?

White House visits have traditionally been one of the perks for the national champs, and the women’s runners-up – in any sport – have managed to get on with their lives just fine. Iowa will, too.

And I’d wager a guess that Caitlin Clark would rather spend her time in the gym, working to ensure Iowa’s season ends differently next year, than going to Washington and pretending this isn’t the diplomatic equivalent of a make-up call.

Trust me when I tell you that women don’t need your paternalism. We’ve spent our entire lives overcoming slights and insults, of soldiering on despite being told we’re not good enough or aren’t as deserving of fill-in-the-blank as the boys and men. We have survived and, as the women’s tournament this year has shown, we have thrived.

It’s amazing that Biden herself didn’t recognize this. Or that the people around her didn’t tell her what a bad idea this was.

Biden, who was at Sunday’s title game, might have thought she was doing something nice for both teams. Instead, she diminished both of their accomplishments.

Women want parity, not pity parties. Even if they take place at the White House.

—Nancy Armour, USA TODAY

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – In 1958 the peace symbol, designed by Gerald Holtom, made its first public appearance, displayed on signage during a protest staged by the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

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