NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Monday, May 8, 2023

Briefs are posted every weekday morning, M-F

NEWS

The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office (WI) has identified the deputy who was shot and killed in the line of duty Saturday night.

Deputy Kaitie Leising, 29, died after an exchange of gunfire just outside of Glenwood City around 6:15 p.m.

Bodycam footage of the incident showed that around 6:15 p.m. on Saturday Leising was dispatched to the drunk driving incident. Upon arriving Leising tried to administer a sobriety test, but the driver, 34-year-old Jeremiah D. Johnson, was evasive.

After eight minutes of talking with Leising, Johnson turned and shot the officer once and then fled the scene. Leising fired at Johnson three times, but none of them would strike him. Leising was transported to a hospital where she died from the injuries.

Additional officers arrived after Leising was shot and searched the wooded area near the scene. About an hour after Deputy Leising had been shot, an officer observed Johnson, heard a gunshot and saw him collapse to the ground. A gun was found next to Johnson’s body.

“Our love and condolences go out to the family of Kaitie Leising and all those with whom she served,” St. Croix County Sheriff Scott L. Knudson said in a statement. “We, as a law enforcement family, will do everything possible to continue to provide support and comfort to her family. We will miss her infectious smile and personality. She will be missed by all she touched.”

Deputy Leising served in the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office since 2022. She previously served with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office in South Dakota for about two years.

Law enforcement say they will escort Leising’s remains and stand vigil by her side until the services are complete.

This is the third incident within the past month where a law enforcement officer died in the line of duty in Minnesota or Wisconsin.

—KSTP-TV

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is still pushing for Milwaukee to get approval from local voters before the city can adopt a 2 percent sales tax aimed at retiring pension debt, even after Gov. Tony Evers and the city’s mayor have voiced concerns on what would happen if such a referendum failed.

Speaking at a Milwaukee Press Club event Friday, Vos, R-Rochester, said he believes city leaders should have to convince voters why they want the tax.

“I still believe it should be a referendum,” Vos said. “I think that is the way that we do it all across Wisconsin if you want to raise taxes for your school district or fund police at a local level, at any other municipality, it’s done by referendum.”

The Milwaukee sales tax plan was included in legislation introduced this week to increase shared revenue, state funding for local governments across the Wisconsin. Milwaukee leaders have been pushing for the ability to impose a sales tax for years. The money would provide about $120 million each year to pay for the pension liability, which has been taking up an increasing share of the city’s budget and forcing cuts to services. A Wisconsin Policy Forum report found the city’s tax levy contribution to support its pension fund grew from $58 million in 2012 to nearly $130 million in 2022.

But the proposed legislation includes the stipulation that the tax be approved by local voters through a referendum. Local leaders, and some Republican legislators, worry that requirement would doom the plan.

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said city government should be able to make the decision on the tax.

But Vos didn’t back down from his comments.

“I think people want to have the easiest way to raise taxes possible. I don’t agree with that,” Vos said. “I think it should be a fairly cumbersome process. It should not be easy. You should go out and have to explain to people the reality of the situation.”

—WI Public Radio

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis touted his conservative victories and hinted at a presidential run in a visit to one of Wisconsin’s political strongholds for former President Donald Trump.

DeSantis spoke Saturday at the Lincoln Day Dinner put on by the Republican Party of Marathon County. The central Wisconsin county gave 58 percent of its vote to Trump in 2020. It’s also part of the sprawling, northern Wisconsin 7th Congressional District — a mostly rural district that includes some of the state’s most heavily Republican areas.

DeSantis, who won reelection as Florida governor in a landslide in November, is widely expected to announce a campaign for president this month. He did not explicitly address those plans, but teased them in his closing remarks.

“We are proud of all that we’ve accomplished in the state of Florida,” DeSantis told the room of about 560 attendees for the $75-per-plate dinner at the Central Wisconsin Convention & Expo Center. “But I can tell you this: I have only begun to fight.”

At the central Wisconsin event, DeSantis mostly stuck to what has become a stump speech, extolling conservative policy victories against the “woke mind virus” in Florida and setting it out as a model for other states to follow.

“We recognize the woke ideology for the threat that it is, and in Florida we have resolved to fight them across the board,” he said. “We will never, ever surrender to the woke mob. We’ve made Florida the state where woke goes to die.”

—WI Public Radio

Former President Donald Trump is gaining support from minorities and both Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis – the top two potential Republican candidates for 2024 – are poised to beat President Joe Biden, spelling trouble for the president as he runs for reelection, according to a poll released Sunday.

Biden is losing support from black and Hispanic Americans as Trump is gaining, according to a Langer Research Associates poll produced for ABC News.

Just 52% of black Americans approve of Biden, compared to 82% when he entered office. Meanwhile, 27% of black people and 43% of Hispanic people say they would definitely or probably vote for Trump in 2024. Trump won 12% of black voters in 2020 and 32% of Hispanic voters.

In a hypothetical 2024 matchup, Biden is behind Trump 38% to 44%, with 12% of voters still undecided. However, when the undecided Americans are asked which way they lean, 49% say Trump to 42% for Biden.

—Just the News

Tucker Carlson is preparing to unleash allies to attack Fox News in an effort to bully the network into letting him work for — or start — a right-wing rival, sources close to him tell Axios.

Bryan Freedman, the high-powered Hollywood lawyer Carlson retained for the contract dispute, told Axios: “The idea that anyone is going to silence Tucker and prevent him from speaking to his audience is beyond preposterous.”

Why it matters: Tucker vs. Fox could reshape the conservative news world. Fox, which has seen its ratings plunge in Carlson’s slot since he was let go 13 days ago, wants to sideline him by paying him $20 million a year not to work.

The intrigue: Axios has learned Carlson is busy plotting a media empire of his own. But he needs Fox to let him out of his contract, which expires in January 2025 — after the presidential election.

We’re told Carlson has been contacted by outlets — including the right-wing Rumble and Newsmax — that offered to pay him more than his Fox contract.

Behind the scenes: Axios has learned that Carlson and Elon Musk had a conversation about working together, but didn’t discuss specifics.

Carlson confidants say he also is contemplating building a direct-to-consumer media outlet where his millions of fans could pay to watch.

—Axios

Eight people died and seven others were injured Saturday after a gunman opened fire at an outdoor mall north of Dallas, Texas, officials said.

The alleged gunman died after a confrontation with police at the Allen Premium Outlets, the scene of the shooting, Allen Police Department officials said. Nine additional people were transferred to hospitals, where two later died, officials said. The hospitalized victims’ ages range from 5 to 61 years old, authorities said.

“This is a tragedy. People will be looking for answers,” Allen Police Chief Brian Harvey said during a press briefing. “We’re sorry that those families are experiencing that loss.”

—ABC News

Anheuser-Busch has fired the ad agency responsible for the Dylan Mulvaney partnership and notified its distributors in a letter that it has taken the action while not naming which agency was responsible, according to a report from the New York Post.

Anheuser-Busch CEO Michel Doukeris told investors that there was “misinformation” being spread about the partnership and said “we need to clarify the fact that this was one can, one influencer, one post, and not a campaign.”

The controversy started when Mulvaney posted a picture of a Bud Light can featuring the influencer’s face and thanked the brand with the hashtag #budlightpartner. Subsequent backlash cost the brand billions in market value. One Texas based distributor speaking on the situation said, “ad agencies send out hundreds of influencer kits a year, some of which have a customized can included. This was one of those situations.”

Doukeris announced that the brand would be tripling media spending in an attempt to recoup the losses and said, “We want to reiterate our support for our wholesaler partners and everyone who brings our great beers to the market. I can tell you that we have the agility, resources, and people to support the US team and move forward.”

—The Post Millennial

Frank James, the man arrested for Tuesday’s New York City subway shooting, is a black nationalist and outspoken racist who railed against whites, Jews, and Hispanics. A careful reader of the New York Times could be forgiven for overlooking that. In a nearly 2,000-word article on the attack, James’s race is not mentioned. The same is true for the coverage offered up by Reuters; the Washington Post only mentioned James’s race in relation to his condemnation of training programs for “low-income Black youths.”

Media critics on the right say that the conspicuous omission of James’s race from these news reports illustrates a trend among prestige papers, which deemphasize or omit the race of non-white criminals while playing up the race of white offenders. But is it a real pattern?

Yes. A Washington Free Beacon review of hundreds of articles published by major papers over a span of two years finds that papers downplay the race of non-white offenders, mentioning their race much later in articles than they do for white offenders. These papers are also three to four times more likely to mention an offender’s race at all if he is white, a disparity that grew in the wake of George Floyd’s death in 2020 and the protests that followed.

The Free Beacon collected data on nearly 1,100 articles about homicides from six major papers, all written between 2019 and 2021. Those papers included the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, and Minneapolis’s Star-Tribune—representatives of each paper did not return requests for comment for this article. For each article, we collected the offender’s and victim’s name and race, and noted where in the article the offender’s race was mentioned, if at all.

The data suggest an alarming editorial trend in which major papers routinely omit information from news reports, presenting readers with a skewed picture of who does and doesn’t commit crime. These editorial choices are part and parcel with the “racial reckoning” that swept newsrooms in the wake of Floyd’s murder, which saw journalists dramatically overhauling crime coverage to emphasize the view that the criminal justice system is racist at the root—perhaps at the expense of honesty about individual offenders’ crimes.

—The Washington Free Beacon

Mage rallied to a victory Saturday at the scratch-filled 149th Kentucky Derby, bringing trainer Gustavo Delgado and jockey Javier Castellano their first garland of roses.

Capping a sad and tumultuous week at famed Churchill Downs, Mage — a grandson of 2007 Preakness champ Curlin and 2008 Derby winner Big Brown — stayed close to the lead throughout before finding a second wind down the stretch at Churchill Downs.

Mage went off at 15-1, the eighth most popular pick of bettors in the field of 18. A $2 win bet returned a $32.42 payoff.

If Mage seeks the Triple Crown, his next race will be in Baltimore, where the 148th running of the Preakness is set for May 20 at Pimlico Race Course.

The Derby went off under a cloud Saturday at Churchill Downs, as seven horses have died there in the past week, including Derby hopeful Wild On Ice.

—NBC News

Democratic White House contender Robert Kennedy Jr. recently blamed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for the assassination of his uncle, President John F. Kennedy, in 1963.

Kennedy Jr., the son of assassinated Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, made the allegation on Sunday with John Catsimatidis on WABC 770 AM’s “Cats Roundtable.” Theories around JFK’s assassination have endured throughout the decades, with many others speculating that the CIA, former President Lyndon B. Johnson, the mafia, the Soviet KGB, Jackie Onassis Kennedy, or the Fidel Castro regime—or some combination thereof—were involved in his death.

“There is overwhelming evidence that the CIA was involved in his murder. I think it’s beyond a reasonable doubt at this point,” Kennedy said about the November 1963 incident in Dallas, Texas. “The evidence is overwhelming that the CIA was involved in the murder, and in the cover-up,” he also said.

Kennedy made reference to the book, “JFK and the Unspeakable,” penned by James Douglas, for some of his assertions. The book theorized that Kennedy was assassinated because he sought peacemaking during the Cold War and was then killed by his own security apparatus.

The federal government concluded during its Warren Commission Report that shooter Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone suspect in the assassination. They said there was no credible evidence to suggest that he was part of a wider assassination conspiracy.

Oswald was shot and killed by alleged Chicago mob associate Jack Ruby two days after Oswald was accused of the assassination. Ruby would be later convicted of the murder and sentenced to death, but he died in prison several years later.

The CIA has long denied any involvement in the former president’s death. An article published on the intelligence agency’s website says that it was a “lie” that connected the CIA “to the Kennedy assassination,” alleging it was part of a Soviet KGB “disinformation” campaign and then cast aspersions against director Oliver Stone’s 1991 film “JFK, ” which strongly suggested that the CIA and other federal officials may have been involved in the assassination.

Kennedy Jr.’s claims on Sunday aren’t the first time he’s floated the notion that the CIA killed his uncle. He’s also claimed in the past that his father wasn’t killed by Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian man who supported communism.

“I also hope that the governor will consider the overwhelming evidence that Sirhan is not my father’s killer,” Kennedy Jr. wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle in 2021.

He wrote: “For many years, I accepted the orthodoxy that Sirhan was responsible. After all, dozens of eyewitnesses in the Ambassador Hotel pantry saw him fire his gun from just a few feet in front of my father. But in 2016, my father’s close friend, Paul Schrade, persuaded me to read Los Angeles County coroner Thomas Noguchi’s autopsy report and to listen to audio recordings and review other evidence indicating that Sirhan could not have been the murderer.”

Kennedy went on to say that Sirhan fired two shots at Kennedy, an upstart senator from New York who was running as a Democrat in 1968, and one of the bullets, he said, struck Schrade in the head. The other bullet hit a door jamb. He then fired more shots, hitting several other bystanders, Kennedy Jr. alleged.

However, none of those bullets struck his father, Kennedy Jr. said, floating the theory that the four shots that hit his father “were from within a few inches, with two leaving gun powder residue in the wounds, suggesting that the assassin was standing close behind my father, shielding his weapon with his body while all attention focused on Sirhan.”

—The Epoch Times

When it comes to a connection between weather and arthritis pain, science is murky on the subject.

Personal experience is not.

“Many people comment on the fact that they can feel changes in their joints, pain escalating, particularly around barometric pressure changes or drastic changes in temperature up and down,” Nick Turkas, senior director of patient education and community connections at the Arthritis Foundation, told weather.com. “Scientifically, when it’s been researched, it’s tough to make a direct connection to weather.”

But Turkas points out that everyone is affected by the weather in different ways, and arthritis sufferers are no different.

“Our bodies and our brains are connected and when we have poor weather, there’s certainly a lot of factors that could contribute to increased pain and increased stress,” Turkas said.

A study in 2015 found that people with rheumatoid arthritis reported fewer symptoms on dry, sunny days than wet, cloudy ones.

Turkas said one reason for that might be that gloomy weather affects a person’s mental outlook.

“If you have cloudy, dark weather for extended periods of time and you’re not able to get out and do the things that you like to do, especially if you’re dealing with joint pain, certainly that’s going to affect your mood,” he said. “And we know that pain, stress and even depression and anxiety are all connected.”

Less-than-ideal weather might also mean that people don’t exercise or move around enough, both of which are important in managing arthritis pain.

Turkas recommends planning ahead for days with bad weather. Yoga, stretching and even a hot bath can be good alternatives for people who can’t get outside.

“You know, it’s so easy to always think about your cardiovascular health or think about your blood sugar,” Turkas said. “But if you don’t take care of your joints, it’s so much harder to take care of the rest of your body.”

—The Weather Channel

Cam Newton was released in 2021 by the Carolina Panthers and has been without a contract ever since, but now he seems to be saying that his lack of a contract isn’t because of his playing, but because he refuses to get it rid of his hairstyle.

Newton appeared as a guest on this week’s Undefined with Josina Anderson podcast, where he insisted that he will not change his hairstyle no matter what people say.

Newton added that “people have hinted” to him that the league dumped him because he isn’t the “clean-cut Cam” he once was because of his dreadlock-style hair.

“Yeah, people have hinted towards to say like, ‘Cam, we want you to go back to the 2015 clean-cut Cam,”” Newton told the host. “But that was a different me. Right now, where I’m at, it’s about embracing who I am.”

The host was shocked by the claim and asked directly if he thinks he has been blackballed because of his hair.

“There was hints towards it,” Newton replied. “And the thing that is always mentioned is, ‘Cam, you scarin’ people the way you look.’ And I would say, yo, like I’m not gonna name names, but there’s other quarterbacks that’s in the league that don’t look like me, but they got long hair. They don’t scare them, do they?”

Still, Newton said he is “fine” with not being an NFL player, even though he added, “I’m not changin.”

—Breitbart News

OPINION

President Joe Biden has a very high opinion about himself. He not only thinks he has brought the U.S. back to health despite an ongoing border crisis, a weak economy, and instilling a progressive-fueled agenda, among other things. He also believes he is one of the most qualified presidential candidates in U.S. history.

During an interview on MSNBC, Biden was asked, “Why an 82-year-old Joe Biden be the right person for the most important job in the world?”

In response, the president used his old age to make his limited days seem less alarming, adding that he is way more intelligent than the average American.

“Because I have acquired a hell of a lot of wisdom. I know more than the vast majority of people, and I’m more experienced than anybody who’s ever run for office.” Biden said. “And I think I’ve proven myself to be honorable as well as also effective.”

Biden also defended his low approval rating on negative media coverage, which has reached a defeating 36 percent, with 56 percent disapproving of the president’s job.

“All they’ve heard is negative news for three years; everything is negative. And I’m not being critical of the press, but you turn on the television, the only way you’re gonna get a hit is something negative,” Biden said.

The president continued to claim that every other president’s polling numbers who has won re-election have also had a low rating like his, adding that he has achieved many wins throughout his presidency, failing to mention what those “wins” were.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll found that former President Trump leads Biden in a 2024 matchup of 54-36 percent.

“This poll is just brutal,” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos said.

Maybe it is because Biden can’t get through the first 30 seconds of an interview without stumbling over his words.

—Sarah Arnold, Townhall

Jordan Neely apparently forgot to call out for “mama” when he was being subdued for his unruly conduct on the New York subway this week. But no problem — the anarchists (also known as “Democrats”) steadily grinding our legal system to dust have found out he was a “Michael Jackson impersonator,” so now they’re using that cute detail to threaten a new round of citywide arson, vandalism, and violence.

In a sane world, we would be showing immense gratitude for the two bystanders who took it upon themselves to ensure that 30-year-old Neely, who had been screaming at passengers, did no harm. There would be morning network TV segments heralding their quick action in a moment of certain danger. Instead, NBC’s “Today” paid tribute to Neely with a montage of his street performances, accompanied by an upbeat Michael Jackson song. (It wasn’t incidental audio used by Neely for his dances. It was a track placed on the video by the show’s producers.)

Democrats like AOC accused the vet of murder. Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine eulogized Neely, who he said: “always made people smile.”

We don’t even know the name of the men who were trying to get Neely under control, only that one is a 24-year-old military vet. And because he happened to be white and was the one holding Neely to the ground with his arms wrapped around Neely’s neck, he’s who’s being targeted. (Incidentally, no one is saying a word about the second man who was trying to arrest Neely’s flailing arms and who appears to have been black. Funny how that works.)

Witnesses of the altercation have said that Neely was belligerently yelling at passengers aboard the train, who, in fear, were trying to get away from him. Neely eventually ran up to the veteran, and a verbal altercation ensued before he was pulled to the floor in a headlock, and two other passengers attempted to subdue his limbs. Neely continued trying to break free, which a witness said seemed to be an indication he wasn’t in “a risky situation.” The police were called and eventually arrived, but Neely, who was reportedly homeless and with an extensive rap sheet, had stopped breathing and died.

Nobody deserves to die, least of all some vagrant who should have long ago been committed to an institution, but anyone who has had to use a metropolitan subway system knows exactly what it feels like to be verbally harassed or even physically molested by someone just like Neely. And in those moments, you could only be so lucky that someone of greater strength was nearby to offer the kind of protection extended by the veteran. And now that Democrat district attorneys in major cities have legalized “non-violent” crime — i.e., anything just short of murder (and even then, it’s iffy) — what choice do subway passengers have but to say their prayers and hope that either they don’t run into any Jordan Neelys on their commutes, or that someone like that vet happens to be taking the same train?

—Eddie Scarry is the D.C. columnist at The Federalist and author of “Liberal Misery: How the Hateful Left Sucks Joy Out of Everything and Everyone.”

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – Following Germany’s unconditional surrender, World War II in Europe officially ended at midnight on this day in 1945, although the war in the Pacific continued until the Japanese surrender in September.

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