NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Briefs are posted every weekday morning, M-F


Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin on Wednesday will launch her run for re-election, officially setting up what is expected to be a high-profile race in Wisconsin as Democrats attempt to maintain their slim control of the Senate in 2024.

“I’m committed to making sure that working people, not just the big corporations and ultra-wealthy, have a fighter on their side,” Baldwin said. “With so much at stake, from families struggling with rising costs to a ban on reproductive freedom, Wisconsinites need someone who can fight and win.”

Baldwin’s decision to seek re-election is the first major move in Wisconsin as Senate races in other states are already underway. A number of Republicans are considering a challenge to Baldwin, though none have yet declared a 2024 bid.

The announcement officially puts Baldwin among several incumbent Democrats nationwide who are likely to be targets for Republicans seeking to flip the chamber next year. The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter rated the race as “lean Democrat.”

Democrats are sure to continue to campaign on abortion, which last week helped liberals flip the ideological balance of the Wisconsin Supreme Court in their favor.

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

About a month before the April 4 election, conservative activists became aware of an online left-wing get-out-the-vote project that was drumming up votes for the progressive candidate in exchange for gift cards.

By that time, it was too late. The gift card ploy went on to play its small part in boosting Democrat turnout.

Democrats consider the gift card practice a legitimate paid canvassing tactic.

Republicans equate it to buying votes.

When the votes were counted, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz, a liberal, handily beat conservative Daniel Kelly 55.5 percent to 44.5 percent in a non-partisan contest to replace a soon-to-retire conservative justice.

When Protasiewicz begins her 10-year term in July, she will give progressives a four-to-three majority on the state’s highest court.

In early March, Jordan Moskowitz, a qualified elector from Madison with ties to the Republican Party of Wisconsin, filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission against non-profit Wisconsin Takes Action and the Organizing Empowerment PAC for failing to register as a political action committee.

The complaint contained a link to a Zoom call in which progressive activists recruited “mobilizers” and introduced them to a training app.

The app taught the mobilizers to make a list of 75 family members, friends, former classmates, and coworkers, and then contact each one four times before the election urging them to get out and vote for progressive ideas and candidates.

Mobilizers were promised up to $270 in gift cards if they made the contacts required and an additional $30 payment for each person they recruited to download the training app.

In a press release, state Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) said, “Wisconsin Takes Action seems to have reached out to hundreds, if not thousands, of voters around the state using Zoom calls to commit election bribery” and that the practice may violate Wisconsin law.

Brandtjen said the gift card tactic called into question the integrity of the 2023 Supreme Court election.

“The willingness of these groups to win by any means necessary should disgust … all the voters of Wisconsin, as this election has now been tainted,” she said in the press release.

—The Epoch Times

Donald Trump won the White House in 2016 by breaking up the famed electoral “blue wall,” snatching the Midwestern battleground states of Michigan and Wisconsin, along with Pennsylvania, from Democrats. He lost the White House four years later when those same states flipped to Joe Biden.

Both parties are already zeroing in on the Midwest ahead of next year’s presidential election, each choosing to hold their national conventions in the region. Republicans will have their event in July 2024 in Milwaukee, the largest city in the swing state of Wisconsin. Democrats announced Tuesday that they would hold theirs the following month in Chicago, just 90 miles away, in solidly blue Illinois.

In picking Chicago over other finalists New York and Atlanta, the Democratic National Committee said, the party was “returning to the Midwest, a critical Democratic stronghold” and called Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota part of the “blue wall” crucial to Biden’s 2020 victory, as well as his party’s success in last fall’s midterm elections.

—The Associated Press

At Monday’s White House press briefing, a reporter asked spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre about “the lack of a press conference during the president’s upcoming trip (to Ireland)” — and the lack of press conferences “in general from this White House.”

The reporter told Jean-Pierre, “I represent a news organization that owns 113 television stations, and a question that I’m often asked, and I don’t know the answer to, so I’ll ask you that question: Is the administration trying to protect the president from our questions? Please, answer that question.”

“Absolutely not. Absolutely not,” Jean-Pierre insisted.

“So why the lack of any interaction in a formal setting to have a press conference?” the reporter asked.

“I mean, the president takes shouted questions,” Jean-Pierre said:

“I understand. John, I understand. I understand. I have dealt with this question about three times already. I understand it is the job of you all to ask this question to me. Totally get that.

“And that’s not a problem at all, but certainly the president many times has stood in front of all of you, has taken questions on his own because he wanted to see what was all on your minds.

“When it comes to a formal press conference, I don’t have anything to share with you at this time.”

The reporter, pointing to previous presidents, told Jean-Pierre, “This is not the norm. The norm is, we do get an opportunity to ask the questions to the president about domestic and foreign policy issues in a formal setting at some point, and you choose that point, but we haven’t had that opportunity in quite some time.”

—CNS News

The United States Postal Service (USPS) on Monday said it was seeking approval to hike the price of first-class mail stamps to 66 cents from 63 cents.

USPS won approval to hike stamp prices to 63 cents from 60 cents in January. The new hike — which the USPS says is needed to offset the rise in inflation — would take effect July 9 if approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission.

The price changes have been approved by USPS board of governors. The plan seeks to raise overall first-class mail prices by 5.4%.

If approved, stamp prices will have risen 32% since early 2019 when they rose from 50 cents to 55 cents.

USPS revenue for first-class mail has been increasing as price hikes have offset lower volumes.

First-class mail, used by most people to send letters and pay bills is the highest revenue-generating mail class, accounting for $24.2 billion, or 31%, of the $78.8 billion in total USPS revenue in 2022.

USPS said in February revenue for the final three months of 2022 was $21.5 billion, up $206 million, or 1%, on a volume decline of 1.7 billion pieces, or 4.8%. USPS reported a net loss for the quarter of $1 billion.


A 12-year-old Florida girl stole her father’s car, picked up her friend and the pair drove across state lines to allegedly meet a person they met online — but the girls turned themselves in after seeing their faces on TV, officials said.

A missing child alert was enacted last week for the 12-year-old and a 14-year-old after the girls were last seen in their hometown of Lake Butler, Florida, believed to be traveling on the I-10 highway toward Louisiana. NBC News is not identifying the girls.

Chief Deputy Capt. Lyn Williams with the Union County Sheriff’s Office said the department had information that the girls could have been traveling to “meet someone they met online.”

However, it’s not clear who that person was or if they were an adult.

Officials said that there was no adult with them and no foul play was expected.

The girls ultimately saw themselves on TV in a Missing Children alert at a gas station in Alabama and turned themselves in to local authorities.

That same afternoon, the Union County Sheriff’s Office announced the alert was canceled and the girls were located safe in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, about 400 miles away from their hometown.

NBC News

President Joe Biden sometimes has trouble exiting the stage, not sure which way to go, and (Monday) was no exception.

After speaking to the crowd gathered on the South Lawn for the annual White House egg roll — brief remarks he read from notes in his hand — the president asked his wife, “We walk off?”

“We walk off, yep,” Mrs. Biden said.

—CNS News

Thanks to the pitch clock, the action is moving much faster at Major League Baseball games.

It also means a little less time for fans to enjoy a frosty adult beverage.

To combat that time crunch, at least four teams — the Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers — have extended alcohol sales through the eighth inning this season. Others, like the Miami Marlins and New York Mets, still have seventh-inning cutoffs, but haven’t ruled out changes.

“Totally makes sense to me,” said Tom Lienhardt, who was sipping on a beer Tuesday night before the Brewers-Diamondbacks game at Chase Field. “Since the games are shorter, you’ve got to adjust.”

Teams have historically stopped selling alcohol after the seventh.

—Associated Press


Democrats, apparently still lacking any healthy amount of self-awareness, have picked a host city for their party’s 2024 convention and it’s the perfect site to marvel at the dangerous failures of Democrat policies: Chicago.

Nothing says “look at what Democrats can do!” quite like a city ravaged by crime and run by Lori Lightfoot who was such a successful Democrat leader that her overwhelmingly Democrat constituents fired her unceremoniously and chose an even more radical Democrat.

The DNC said Tuesday that the 2024 DNC will run from August 19 to 22 at the United Center and come just more than one month after the GOP’s 2024 convention — scheduled for July 15-18 — about 100 miles north of the Windy City in Milwaukee.

According to the DNC, Chicago was the right choice because it demonstrates “the formidable coalition that will help re-elect President Biden and Vice President Harris, and elect Democrats up-and-down the ticket” and the region “will showcase President Biden’s economic agenda that is rebuilding our roads and bridges, unleashing a manufacturing boom, and creating good-paying middle-class jobs.”

To be clear, any positive experience DNC attendees have in Chicago will be due not to the city’s failed leaders, but because the convention experience will take place within a walled-off, patrolled by armed security perimeter to provide security and safety that Windy City residents have been stripped of by Democrat policies.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told Townhall on Tuesday that the GOP looks “forward to the DNC’s convention where their radical agenda will be on full display for the world to see. Voters will soundly reject whichever out-of-touch liberal the Democrats nominate in Chicago and instead elect our Republican nominee as the next President of the United States,” she added.


During a town hall discussion with Jim Acosta earlier this week, Anthony Fauci, who previously served as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director and as the chief medical advisor under the Biden administration, cautioned that another pandemic could happen soon. In fact, according to Fauci, “there will absolutely be an outbreak of another pandemic,” and it could happen as early as next year.

“So if we really want to prevent the next pandemic, and there will be one, there will absolutely be an outbreak of another pandemic,” Fauci said. “It may be next year or it may be in your […] grandchildren and your great-grandchildren’s lifetime.”

Gee, possibly next year, huh? Another election-year pandemic sounds like a lot of fun, doesn’t it? That would be super convenient for one particular political party, don’t you think?

But was that even the worst of it? Fauci was arguably not trying to insist that a pandemic would come next year, but merely making the point that one could come at any time. What was worse was how he defended the NIAID’s clandestine efforts to fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“You don’t want to study bats in Fairfax County, Virginia, to find out what the animal-human interface is that might lead to a jumping of species,” Fauci explained. “So we had a modest collaboration with very respectable Chinese scientists who were world experts on coronavirus, and we did that through a sub-grant from a larger grant to EcoHealth.”

Gain-of-function research had been banned in the United States in 2014, but that didn’t stop the NIH from funding such research before the ban was lifted by the Obama administration days before he left office.

“The larger grant was about $600,000 over a period of five years,” he continued. “So it was a modest amount. The purpose of it was to study the animal-human interface, to do surveillance and to determine if these bat viruses were even capable of” infecting humans.

Fauci previously denied approving grants for the controversial research through EcoHealth Alliance, Inc. and the Wuhan Institute of Virology during testimony before Congress. The punishment for lying to Congress can be up to five years in prison. Fauci clearly doesn’t seem all that concerned since he’s defending the funding instead of lying about it now.

— Matt Margolis is the author of Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump

In the aftermath of school shootings, media outlets often amplify calls for gun control while ignoring or spurning evidence-based ways to protect students. Here are four life-saving tools they are missing or dismissing.

Shatter-Resistant Entryways

As documented in the academic journal Victims & Offenders, an “immediate and economical” way to protect students “is to tighten” access to school buildings. Many school administrators have done this simply by locking doors. However, there are roughly 460 million firearms in the U.S., and the bulk of them will quickly shatter the glass entrances that are a common feature of schools, allowing killers to enter in a few seconds.

That is precisely what happened in the Covenant Christian school shooting in Nashville where the killer took the lives of three 9-year-old children and three staff after shooting out the school’s glass doors and walking into the building:

Likewise, the perpetrator of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, CT broke into the building by shooting out a glass panel at the school’s entryway. He then proceeded to slaughter 20 students and 6 adults.

These and other such tragedies may be prevented if schools took a simple and affordable action: apply a security film that prevents glass entryways from shattering when bullets hit them:

Note that the treatment doesn’t make glass bulletproof or impenetrable. Instead, it makes the glass shatter-resistant. This slows down intruders and affords precious time for students to flee or help to arrive.

Nor does every piece of glass in a school need to be treated. Just installing the film on exterior entryways can substantially improve safety, and selecting other strategic locations can help as well.

Security film is relatively inexpensive and quickly installed.

Don’t Make Celebrities of Mass Murderers

Dr. Peter Langman, a Ph.D. psychologist and one of the world’s leading authorities on the “psychology of school shooters and other perpetrators of mass violence,” writes that:

“because of the frequency of mass killers citing previous perpetrators as role models or sources of inspiration, it is critical that media outlets give careful consideration to how they cover such incidents. It seems likely that the more the media focuses on the perpetrators rather than the victims, the more people who are at risk of violence will be influenced to commit their own attacks, whether due to imitation, inspiration, idolizing, perceived similarities, sympathy with the cause, or their desire for fame.”

Compulsory Mental Health Treatment

While the vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent, the perpetrators of mass shootings are far more likely to suffer from serious psychiatric disorders than the general population. This is especially true of people who commit indiscriminate mass shootings in which an attacker wantonly kills people in a public setting like a school, park, or church.

A study published in the journal Criminology & Public Policy found that 35% of people who committed indiscriminate mass shootings from 1976 to 2018 had paranoid schizophrenia, and 60% of the shooters “had been either diagnosed with a mental disorder or demonstrated signs of serious mental illness prior to the attack

Perhaps more telling, the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology published a study of people who committed a mass shooting from 1982 to 2019 and survived. The study focused on the survivors, as opposed to those who died, because the ensuing legal proceedings revealed “the most reliable psychiatric information.” Among the 35 mass shooters who survived, 51% had schizophrenia, and 80% had a psychiatric diagnosis.

Although 18.8% of U.S. adults received mental health services in 2021, people who desperately need such help often refuse care.

Arming Selected Teachers

Despite knee-jerk reactions to arming teachers, this action can significantly and discretely improve the safety of students for a fraction of the cost of employing officers or security guards. This is because teachers and other school employees:

§ who are willing and able to protect students can be quickly trained to be as safe and proficient with a firearm as police.

§ are ubiquitous in schools and can provide ample coverage of buildings and campuses, something that has been severely lacking in school massacres.

§ would covertly carry, giving them an advantage of surprise over would-be attackers.

§ can be seriously trained, appropriately armed, and generously paid for about 1% of what is already spent on schools.

Contrary to claims spread by CNN and NBC, teachers can rival the firearm skills of police officers. This is because even recreational shooters fire as accurately as police, and most officers only receive a modest amount of firearm training.

These facts point to the conclusion that selected and well-trained teachers would be very effective in protecting the lives of students. U.S. civilians use guns to stop potentially lethal violence more than 100,000 times per year, while there are less than 600 fatal firearm accidents per year.

— James D. Agresti, the president and cofounder of Just Facts

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – In 1955, the polio vaccine, developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, was declared safe and effective.

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