NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Briefs are posted every weekday morning, M-F


Republicans may still enjoy an overall edge today among Wisconsin’s suburban voters, depending on how you measure it. In high-volume polling last year by the Marquette Law School, 47% of Wisconsin voters in “core suburbs” (using one government definition) identified as Republican or Republican-leaning, and 43% identified as Democratic or Democratic-leaning.

That advantage has eroded over time. Republicans won the “suburban vote” in every Wisconsin election for governor and president for at least 30 years. By the 2020 presidential race, that advantage had dwindled to a fraction, however. And in last year’s race for governor, these suburbs collectively voted Democratic by about 2 points.

—The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A potential deal to keep the Milwaukee Brewers in Wisconsin and fund improvements at American Family Field is stuck in limbo, with local and state officials disagreeing about where money for the deal should come from.

On Monday, a Milwaukee County Board committee passed a resolution opposing using any county tax dollars to fund long-term renovations at the stadium. This, after Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, has said he wants local money to be used in any such deal. The city of Milwaukee is dealing with what local leaders have called a budget “crisis,” while Milwaukee County officials say they’re facing a looming fiscal cliff with its budget.

Gov. Tony Evers in February proposed spending $290 million in state money on improvements at American Family Field, which opened in 2001. That proposal would have come in the form of a one-time payment using the state’s projected $7.1 billion budget surplus. As part of the deal, the Brewers would sign a new lease that would keep the team in Milwaukee until 2043.

But Vos, who was critical of that proposal from the start, said in March that deal was likely “dead.” Speaking at a Milwaukee Press Club event Friday, Vos said state lawmakers want to negotiate a plan for increasing state funding to local governments first before moving to the stadium deal.

“We’re negotiating on shared revenue first, so we haven’t really gotten to the point of getting into all the details of a Brewers deal or what it potentially would look like,” Vos said. “I think for many of my colleagues who don’t live in the southeastern Wisconsin region, the idea of writing a check out to any professional sports team in Wisconsin, is probably a nonstarter.”

Vos said he’d like to see a plan for stadium improvements similar to the Milwaukee Bucks deal that kept the team in Milwaukee and provided funding for the Fiserv Forum. That plan, which was finalized in 2015, was structured as a public-private investment. Following negotiations with Republican lawmakers, the state’s portion of public funding for the arena was $80 million.

At the Milwaukee Press Club event, Vos did say there was a “strong incentive” to ensuring the team stays in Wisconsin, adding that a future partnership with the state is possible. But he also said he wouldn’t support a new tax for funding improvements.

“It’s got to be the locals also stepping up saying hey, here’s what the city and the county are willing to do to keep one of the biggest economic drivers for the city and the county, and not assume it’s all going to be state funded,” Vos said.

But the Milwaukee County Committee on Intergovernmental Relations passed a resolution Monday opposing the use of the Milwaukee County tax levy to fund any long-term renovations at the stadium, citing “more urgent, higher funding priorities” for the county.

The resolution, which received bipartisan support on the committee, will be voted on by the full county board at a future meeting. Milwaukee County Board member Steve Taylor, who said he’s a Republican like Vos, supported the resolution. Taylor said using local funds for a stadium deal would take “precious resources” away from the county.

—WI Public Radio

Milwaukee school leaders and community advocates said a Republican plan to put police officers back in public schools would hurt teacher recruitment and target Black and Brown students.

Milwaukee Public Schools began removing police officers in 2016 and ended its contract with the Milwaukee Police Department in June 2020.

But tucked inside the sweeping state shared revenue proposal released last week is a plan to put armed officers back in Milwaukee schools.

The Assembly bill requires Milwaukee Public Schools to have at least 25 school resource officers in place by Jan. 1, 2024. MPS would be required to pay for the officers and is the only school district that has that requirement.

The bill also requires Milwaukee and other high schools in the state to collect data about crimes on school property. Gov. Tony Evers vetoed a similar bill last year.

Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association President Amy Mizialko said students deserve professionals in the schools that improve academic, social and emotional outcomes.

“Having a fully staffed and fully resourced school with certified teachers, with nurses and social workers and counselors, is how and when students thrive,” Mizialko said. “Our position is not anti-police, it’s simply a practical position informed by facts.”

But at a Milwaukee Press Club event on Friday, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, told reporters the community wants police officers back in schools.

“They like the idea of having people who are there in the schools to maintain order and to make sure that kids are safe,” Vos said. “I mean, we have concerns about all the things from school shootings to other crimes that occur. We’d like to make sure that parents know if those crimes occur on a school campus.”

Vos said he thinks putting officers back in schools would help with teacher recruitment efforts, and that the Assembly proposal lets the city and district determine which high schools should have officers.

—WI Public Radio

Officers from across western Wisconsin are volunteering to cover patrol shifts in St. Croix County this week as members of the sheriff’s office mourn the killing Saturday of one of their deputies.

During the first press conference since 29-year-old St. Croix County Sheriff’s Deputy Kaitie Leising was shot and killed while responding to a suspected drunk drive Saturday afternoon, Sheriff Scott Knudson said his 30 patrol officers aren’t on the street this week.

“Shifts have been covered for days,” Knudson said. “People want to help. Other agencies have come in. And again, I cannot thank them enough.”

Knudson said his department and their families are reeling at the sudden violence that took Leising’s life. He said Leising was talking with alleged shooter Jeremiah Daniel Johnson of Minnesota for around 8 minutes when he “spins and shoots.”

Knudson said counselors have been brought in to help deputies, along with first responders and dispatchers talk through the trauma.

“What was done 20, 30 years ago, when it was, ‘Suck it up and get back out there’ — it doesn’t work,” Knudson said. “We need time to process and grieve. But it’s also important to make sure that we are good to get back out there because our citizens deserve that as well.”

Leising’s death is the first for the St. Croix County Sheriff’s office in more than 64 years, Knudson said.

Already this year, four Wisconsin police officers or sheriff’s deputies have been shot and killed in the line of duty.

—WI Public Radio

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., has been indicted on 13 counts, including seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds, and two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives, federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York said Wednesday.

The embattled congressman was taken into custody Wednesday morning on Long Island, New York.

Santos left Washington, D.C., on Tuesday and drove up to New York to surrender.

Before leaving, Santos met with House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy’s staff and informed them that he would be charged.

He’s expected to plead not guilty, sources told ABC News.

—ABC News

A civil jury in New York City has found President Donald Trump not guilty of raping E. Jean Carroll in a department store dressing room nearly three decades ago. The jury found Trump liable for forcibly touching, sexually abusing and battery of Carroll. They also found he defamed her. Trump will be ordered to pay Carroll $5 million in damages.

President Trump denied all of the charges and accusations. Further, he maintains he never knew or met Carroll.

The Trump campaign issued a statement.

“The Democratic Party’s never-ending witch-hunt of President Trump hit a new low today. In jurisdictions wholly controlled by the Democratic Party our nation’s justice system is now compromised by extremist left-wing politics. We have allowed false and totally made-up claims from troubled individuals to interfere with our elections, doing great damage.

Make no mistake, this entire bogus case is a political endeavor targeting President Trump because he is now an overwhelming front-runner to be once again elected President of the United States.

The continued abuse of our great Constitution for political ends is disgusting and cannot be tolerated. Our nation is in serious trouble when claims lacking any evidence or proof or eyewitnesses can invade our courts to score political points.

Sadly, for the enemies of American freedom and democracy, President Trump will never stop fighting for the American people, no matter what the radical Democrats dream up next. This case will be appealed, and we will ultimately win.”


Melania Trump offered rare public remarks to tout her husband, former President Donald Trump, as he runs a 2024 re-election campaign.

“My husband achieved tremendous success in his first administration, and he can lead us toward greatness and prosperity once again,” the former first lady told Fox News. “He has my support, and we look forward to restoring hope for the future and leading America with love and strength,” she added.

As first lady, Melania Trump started the “Be Best” initiative to promote children’s health. She expanded efforts with “Fostering the Future,” a project geared toward providing scholarships to foster children.

Should her husband be re-elected, Melania Trump told Fox News that during another stint as first lady, she would “prioritize the well-being and development of children as I have always done” while working to “ensure that every child has the support and resources they need to reach their full potential.”

—The Daily Wire

Tucker Carlson announced that he will soon be relaunching his own show and streaming it exclusively on Twitter.

Carlson made the announcement in a post to Twitter on Tuesday, simply captioned “We’re back.”

“Much of what you see on television or read the New York Times, is in fact true in the literal sense, it could pass one of the media’s own fact checks. Lawyers would be willing to sign off on it, in fact, they may have. But that doesn’t make it true. It’s not true,” Carlson said in his video.

“At the most basic level, the news you consume is a lie, a lie of the stealthiest and most insidious kind. Facts have been withheld on purpose, along with proportion and perspective. You are being manipulated.

“How does that work?” Carlson asked, “Let’s see.”

“If I tell you that a man has been unjustly arrested for armed robbery that is not strictly speaking a lie. He may have been framed at this point, there’s been no trial, so no one can really say.

“But if I don’t mention the fact that the same man has been arrested for the same crime six times before, am I really informing you? No, I’m not.

“I’m misleading you. And that’s what the news media are doing in every story that matters every day of the week, every week of the year,” he continued.”

“What’s it like to work in a system like that? After more than 30 years, in the middle of it, we could tell you stories. The best you could hope for in the news business at this point is the freedom to tell the fullest truth that you can. But there are always limits. And you know that if you bump up against those limits, often enough, you will be fired for it.

“That’s not a guess. It’s guaranteed.

“Every person who works in English language media understands that the rule of what you can’t say defines everything. It’s filthy, really. And it’s utterly corrupting.

“You can’t have a free society if people aren’t allowed to say what they think is true. Speech is the fundamental prerequisite for democracy. That’s why it’s enshrined in the first of our constitutional amendments.

“Amazingly, as of tonight, there aren’t many platforms left that allow free speech. The last big one remaining in the world, the only one is Twitter, where we are now.”

—The Post Millennial

Vice President Kamala Harris will deliver the commencement speech at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point this month, the first woman to do so, a White House official told ABC News.

Harris’s remarks at the May 27 commencement ceremony will mark her first visit to West Point, according to the official.

“We are honored to have the Vice President as our commencement speaker,” West Point’s superintendent, Lt. Gen. Steven W. Gilland, said in a statement provided by the White House. “As an accomplished leader who has achieved significant milestones throughout her career, we look forward to her inspiring remarks to our cadets.”

President Joe Biden, meanwhile, is scheduled to deliver remarks at this year’s U.S. Air Force Academy and Howard University commencement ceremonies.

—ABC News

Consumer prices in the United States rose again in April, and measures of underlying inflation stayed high, a sign that further declines in inflation are likely to be slow and bumpy.

Prices increased 0.4% from March to April, the government said Wednesday, up from a 0.1% rise from February to March. Compared with a year earlier, prices climbed 4.9%, down slightly from March’s year-over-year increase.

The nation’s inflation rate has steadily cooled since peaking at 9.1% last June but remains far above the Federal Reserve’s 2% target rate.

For everyday consumer items, Wednesday’s inflation report was mixed. Gasoline prices jumped 3% just in April. By contrast, grocery prices dropped for a second straight month. Used car prices surged 4.4% after nine months of declines. Rental costs rose but at a slower pace.

—Associated Press

A metallic object believed to be a meteorite punched a hole in the roof of a central New Jersey home this week, smashing into a hardwood floor and bouncing around a bedroom. The family who owns the home discovered the black, potato-sized rock in a corner — still warm.

Nobody was hurt and there was no serious damage to the residence, said police in Hopewell Township, north of the state capital Trenton. The object measures about 4 by 6 inches (10 by 15 centimeters) and weighs about four pounds (1.8 kilograms), police said.

Suzy Kop, whose family owns the home, said they initially thought someone had thrown a rock into an upstairs bedroom Monday, but soon realized that wasn’t the case. The family plans to meet with an astrophysicist who will further examine the object.

“We are thinking it’s a meteorite, came through here, hit the floor here because that’s completely damaged, it ricocheted up to this part of the ceiling and then finally rested on the floor there,” Kop told KYW-TV in Philadelphia. “I did touch the thing because it thought it was a random rock, I don’t know, and it was warm.”

Kop said hazmat officials responded to their home to check it out along with her family, in case they had been exposed to some type of radioactive material, but those checks were all negative.

—Associated Press


Last week I wrote about conditions that forced Whole Foods to close its flagship store in San Francisco. Contrary to some published claims that the closure was the result of poor sales, a NY Times review found there had been 568 calls to 911 in just 13 months. Employees had been threated with guns and knives and theft was constant.

Today the SF Standard has a story about a Target store located in a mall near Union Square. Just like the Whole Foods, this store is being robbed blind and not just once or twice a day.

“I’d say 10 thefts a day,” said one worker at the Target inside the Metreon, a mall near San Francisco’s Union Square. The worker spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not have permission from a supervisor to talk to the press.

“Every 10 minutes you see it,” another worker said who also did not wish to be named. “Look in some corner of the store and you’ll see people shoveling stuff into a bag, food, cosmetics.”…

A third worker who also spoke on the condition they not be named said lipstick and nail polish, which are not locked behind plastic, are regularly stolen in handfuls.

Like other Target stores in San Francisco, this one has moved to place a lot of smaller items in locked cabinets but anything that can still be grabbed will be. Not all of the thefts are for resale. The homeless frequently steal food and sometimes eat it in the store. Another worker, who isn’t identified by name, says it’s routine to find candy wrappers, soda and even liquor bottles dropped around the store.

Another frequently stolen item is aluminum foil. Why? Because the addicts use it when smoking fentanyl.

So if you’re wondering why so many retail stores keep announcing closures in the city, this is why.

—John Sexton, Hot Air

While the left has embraced transgender insanity and its concerted effort to erase real women, many conservatives have asked, “Why are women tolerating this?” Well, more women are speaking up and fighting back.

Former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines is publicly calling out female athletes and demanding they take a stand against men in women’s sports. Monday, she called on tennis superstars Serena and Venus Williams to stand up for women.

Gaines is also urging female athletes to effectively boycott contests with trans athletes. She’s telling women to refuse to participate in competitions where men claiming to be women are allowed to compete.

“We have to have girls who, when the whistle blows, they don’t run, they don’t swim,” Gaines said. “They stand up on the [starting] block and they don’t go.” That would certainly draw attention to the issue when the only person running on the women’s track is a man!

Gaines is absolutely right, and she’s not the only one urging such an approach.

Inga Thompson, a three-time Olympic cyclist, is blasting international cycling after a man recently won a major women’s cycling event. Thompson tweeted:

“Start taking a knee at the starting lines. Team managers need to speak up and protect their riders. Hold signs at every race ‘Save Women’s Sports.’”

It’s unfortunate that we have even reached this point. But I am encouraged to see more and more women speaking up and fighting back against this left-wing insanity. Republicans, conservatives and Christians should stand with them.

—Gary Bauer

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – In 1994 American serial killer John Wayne Gacy—whose murders of 33 boys and young men in the 1970s shocked his suburban Chicago community, where he was known for his performances as a clown at charitable events and children’s parties—was executed at age 52.

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