NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Briefs are posted every weekday morning, M-F


U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson on Tuesday told Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas he should resign during a hearing in which the two sparred over security on the southwest border and Mayorkas accused Johnson of mischaracterizing the department’s efforts.

During Mayorkas’ testimony on the Department of Homeland Security’s budget request Johnson questioned Mayorkas about migration data related to the U.S.-Mexico border as migrant encounters have reached record levels over the past two years.

The exchange became heated at times, with Johnson frequently cutting off Mayorkas as he grilled the secretary over data on migrant apprehensions. At one point, after Johnson estimated that between 4 million and 5 million people had crossed the southwest border over the last two years, Mayorkas responded by saying he is “very very focused on the security of our border.”

“No you’re not. No you’re not,” Johnson cut in. “I don’t want to listen to that.”

Johnson made his comments as Congress debates budget funding for agencies and at a time when Republicans have put increasing scrutiny on the Biden Administration’s handling of the influx of migrants and security concerns at the border.

His call for Mayorkas to resign follows a push from some conservatives on Capitol Hill to impeach Mayorkas. Tennessee Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Green, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told donors this month he would launch impeachment proceedings against Mayorkas, according to a report Tuesday from the New York Times.

On Tuesday, Kansas Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall told Mayorkas he is “derelict in your duties” and said he plans to introduce a draft resolution “in the coming days” that would require the Senate to take a vote of no confidence in Mayorkas.

During the hearing, Johnson listed data on migrant deaths at the border and asked Mayorkas how many girls are sex trafficked at the southern border. Mayorkas started to say identifying human trafficking and child exploitation was “a priority” for the department.

But Johnson interrupted, saying: “But you are failing miserably.”

“You’re not giving me any stats whatsoever in terms of the number of people that are human trafficked, how many young girls are sex trafficked,” Johnson said. “You don’t have a clue. You won’t even answer how many dead bodies, which is very well documented, at the border.”

“Do you not care?” Johnson added. “Do you not have just an ounce of human compassion for what your open border policy, the type of human depredations it is causing? You just sit there looking with a blank look on your face.”

Johnson then repeated the number of migrants who have crossed the border over the last two years. “And you’re saying this is a priority?” he said. “Mr. Secretary, you ought to resign.”

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ proposal to provide $290 million in state cash for long-term renovations at American Family Field could be replaced by a mix of state and local funding for the ballpark − if Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has his way.

Vos on March 8 described Evers’ proposal as likely “dead,” and told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on April 8 that a new Milwaukee Brewers ballpark funding plan would probably be considered through separate legislation − not as part of Evers’ 2023-’25 state budget proposal.

Vos said Tuesday it’s not realistic to expect “that the state’s going to bear all the responsibility for a local project.”

Vos suggested the package lawmakers ultimately approve for American Family Field could resemble the structure of a 2015 bill that included funding from the state, city and county to help pay for the construction of a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, now known as Fiserv Forum.

“I think it’s fair to say that most people around the state would expect that (Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee) would have some kind of a participatory role,” Vos told reporters in the state Capitol. “Has that been defined? No.”

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A bipartisan bill designating carjacking as a criminal offense and creating harsher penalties for people who use a weapon to steal a vehicle received final approval in the Wisconsin Legislature on Tuesday.

Passage by the Assembly sends the bill to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who has said he supports the measure. The Senate passed it last month on a bipartisan 23-8 vote. Evers earlier this month signed into law a Republican-sponsored bill to crack down on reckless driving.

The Republican-controlled Legislature has moved quickly this year to pass stricter criminal penalties after the GOP made rising crime rates an election issue in the 2022 midterm.

Currently, someone who uses force or threatens force to steal a vehicle can be charged with operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent. The bill passed Tuesday would formally recognize that crime as carjacking.

Under the bill, someone who uses a weapon to steal a vehicle would be guilty of the second-highest level felony in the state and could be sentenced to up to 60 years in prison. Currently, the maximum sentence is up to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

—Wisconsin AP

The Birthplace of the Republican Party has a new home that local tourism officials hope will make it a better destination for visitors during the 2024 Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.

But the move came at a cost, with the building — at least for now — losing its status as a national historic landmark, and leaving some Republican Party leaders angry about the move.

The Little White Schoolhouse in Ripon moved to a new location Monday, shifted on the back of a truck from Blackburn Street, near the city’s downtown, to West Fond du Lac Street, a commercial corridor that connects Ripon with the tourist town of Green Lake.

The relocation resulted in the building losing its place on the National Register of Historic Places — nearly 50 years after the schoolhouse received the designation. It is still listed on the state Register of Historic Places, said Mandy Kimes, executive director of the Ripon Chamber of Commerce, which owns the schoolhouse.

The chamber was notified by the Wisconsin Historical Society on March 20 that the national register would delist the schoolhouse as a national historic landmark if it was moved to its new location.

The letter did leave the door open for the chamber to reapply for a new designation. While Kimes said the chamber plans appeal the national register’s decision, the move has left some in the community, and across the state, disappointed and frustrated.

Ripon resident and Fond du Lac County GOP chair Timothy Bachleitner said “They’ve had 26 days knowing they were going to lose the status, and they didn’t put a stop to it. They didn’t say, ‘Hey, we’ll wait another week or two.’ They just went ahead and dug the foundation. They put it up on jacks, and they were going to move it without the community finding out that it was immediately being delisted.”

—WI Public Radio

President Joe Biden reiterated his false claim that guns are the “leading killer of children.”

Biden has made the claim regarding guns and children numerous times. He began doing so in the summer of 2022, which is when Breitbart News fact checked his claim and found it to be false.

The only way Biden’s claim proves valid is when non-children–voting aged people who are 18 and 19–are counted as children, for the sake of expanding the pool of possible shooting victims.

But Breitbart News pointed out that when actual children are counted–people aged 0-17–Biden’s claim falls apart.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows that the number of firearm related deaths for children 0-17 was 2,281 in 2020, while the number of motor vehicle deaths for the same ages was 2,503.

Moreover, Breitbart News noted that Biden does not mention that even in the expanded age range of 0-19, CDC numbers show unintentional motor vehicle deaths were 27 times higher than unintentional firearm-related deaths.

—Breitbart News

More than two-thirds of parents worry a shooting could happen at their children’s school, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. But home is a far more dangerous place for kids.

In the five years ending in 2022, at least 866 kids 17 and younger were shot in domestic violence incidents, according to an analysis by The Trace of data from the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive; 621 of them died. In that same time frame, 268 children were shot at school, 75 of them fatally, according to an analysis of data from the CHDS School Shooting Safety Compendium, a federally funded tracker launched after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018.

All told, three times as many children were shot in domestic violence incidents as in school shootings and eight times as many died. The majority of those children were intentionally shot by a parent, stepparent or guardian – the very people expected to protect them.

Much of the violence was hidden, often playing out inside homes across America and receiving a fraction of the media coverage dedicated to school shootings. The median age of the victims over the five-year period was 10; 167 of the victims were younger than 5. One was a newborn.


A new report ranks all 50 states from best to worst for economic conditions, showing which states have improved, and worsened, in creating an economic climate where businesses want to invest.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) released the state analysis, which ranks Utah as the number one state, North Carolina as second, and Arizona as third. Idaho and Oklahoma fill out the top five spots, ranking fourth and fifth, respectively.

“The proof is in the pudding,” Jonathan Williams, ALEC’s chief economist who co-authored the report, told The Center Square. “Utah was the fastest growing state in the country by population, over 18 percent population growth in the last decade. So one of the key themes that we see not just in Utah but in so many of the top ten or the top half of states is that states that get it right with policy are getting it right with migration as people continue to vote with their feet. Taxpayers are continuing to vote with their feet against high-tax states and going toward states that offer more economic opportunity and really a better quality of life and a lower cost of life.”

“We’ve been doing this long enough that there are really no accidents and no flukes,” he added.

At the bottom of the rankings is New York, the worst state by ALEC’s metrics. Vermont is ranked 49th, Minnesota is 48th, and New Jersey is 47th. Illinois comes in at 46th, and California ranks as 45th.

For the most part, Republican-led states filled the better parts of the rankings while Democrat-led states fell to the bottom. The top ten states are almost entirely Republican-led, and the bottom ten states are all Democrat-led.

“The states that followed the free market formula of keeping taxes low and keeping regulations limited, empowering workers, empowering taxpayers across the board are the fastest growing states in America,” Williams said.

(WI ranked #17)

—Center Square

Cold showers have become a popular wellness trend in recent years. Many people tout a long list of its potential benefits, which include seemingly everything from increased focus to reduced inflammation. But if a cold shower sounds brutal to you, then you might be relieved to hear that showering in icy cold water might not actually improve everyone’s well-being. In fact, some doctors say that certain people may face unwanted health risks from taking a cold shower.

Cold showers are an easily accessible form of cyrotherapy—otherwise known as cold therapy, which “uses exposure to cold temperatures to cool the body’s tissues for therapeutic reasons,” according to UCLA Health. This involves lowering the water temperature in your shower below 60 degrees, usually for around two to three minute at a time.

But this icy shock might not be helpful for everyone—and in fact, it could actually be harmful for some. “Cold showers can pose health concerns for certain individuals,” Lalitha McSorley, the owner and lead physical therapist at Brentwood Physiotherapy Calgary, tells Best Life. McSorley says she advises people to always consult their own doctor before making “any significant changes” to their wellness routines—which includes a transition to cold showers.

Taking a cold shower can “shock your system,” according to Michael Dadashi, a psychologist and CEO of the Texas-based treatment center Infinite Recovery. “The shock leads to a significant drop in blood pressure and an increase in heart rate,” he explains. “This can be dangerous for individuals with underlying cardiovascular conditions such as arrhythmias or high blood pressure.”

But Shirley Collins, MD, a medical doctor and contributing expert for Academia Labs LLC, says those who are suffering from low blood pressure should also stay clear of such extreme water temperature. “Since cold showers stimulate blood circulation by constricting blood vessels, this can be dangerous, as it can lead to a drastic change in blood pressure,” she says. “Some blood vessels may even constrict too much beyond repair.”

—Best Life

A curious toddler on Tuesday earned the title of one of the tiniest White House intruders after he squeezed through the metal fencing on the north side of the executive mansion.

U.S. Secret Service Uniformed Division officers, who are responsible for security at the White House, walked across the North Lawn to retrieve the tot and reunite him with his parents on Pennsylvania Avenue. Access to the complex was briefly restricted while officers conducted the reunification. Officers briefly questioned the parents before allowing them to continue on their way.

Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said officers “encountered a curious young visitor along the White House north fence line who briefly entered White House grounds.”

“The White House security systems instantly triggered Secret Service officers and the toddler and parents were quickly reunited,” he said in a statement.

It may be the first successful intrusion onto the complex since the White House fence was doubled in height to roughly 13 feet (3.96-meters) in recent years after a series of security breaches. While taller, the new fence has an additional inch of space between pickets, for a total of 5½ inches (12.7 centimeters) between posts.

Older children have sometimes become stuck in the iconic barrier, which has also been the scene of demonstrations, with protesters chaining themselves to the fence.

—Associated Press


Americans are ‘voting with their feet’ and waving goodbye to eye-watering taxes, high living costs and bad job prospects in Democrat-leaning areas for better deals in red states, experts told

Recent data from the US Census Bureau show how such states as New York, Illinois, and Hawaii saw their populations shrink between 2021 and 2022, while Florida, Texas, Montana, and South Dakota saw big population gains.

A similar pattern plays out at the county level. Arizona‘s Maricopa County was the fastest-growing in the US, adding 56,831 residents in 2022, a gain of 1.3 percent against 2021.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles County, California, posted a loss of 90,704 people.

Mark Perry, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank, said the overall population drift was from Democrat-run states to mostly Republican-administered boomtowns in the South and West of the country.

‘Americans are moving from blue states that are more economically stagnant, fiscally unhealthy states with higher tax burdens and unfriendly business climates with higher energy and housing costs and fewer economic and job opportunities,’ Perry said.

They’re opting for ‘fiscally sound red states that are more economically vibrant, dynamic and business-friendly, with lower tax and regulatory burdens, lower energy, and housing costs and more economic and job opportunities.’

By contrast, counties experiencing the largest influx of people were in Arizona, Texas, and Florida, where taxes are significantly lower. The destination areas typically have more affordable housing and fewer problems like crime and vagrancy.

The five counties which lost the most residents are all located in high-tax states, namely California, Illinois, and New York. They have also been wracked by homelessness, drug taking and high rents and living costs.

California is the epicenter of America’s homelessness crisis. About a third of the entire US homeless population — 171,521 people — is in California, and Los Angeles hosts around 65,000 of them.

—The Daily Mail

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – Launched this day in 1775 with the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the American Revolution was an effort by 13 British colonies in North America (with help from France, Spain, and the Netherlands) to win their independence.

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