NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Briefs are posted every weekday morning, M-F


Wisconsin’s budget forecast dipped slightly Monday, but the latest projection still calls for the state to collect about $6.9 billion more than anticipated by the end of June.

The projection from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates that taxes collected over the next two years will be down about $755 million, or about 1% less than the previous forecast made four months ago. Taking into account other short-term cost savings, the surplus shrank from $7.1 billion to nearly $6.9 billion.

The new projection comes as lawmakers, Gov. Tony Evers and others are trying to strike a deal on a new, multibillion-dollar aid plan for local governments ahead of a vote Wednesday in the state Assembly.

Republicans who control the Legislature have tried to temper excitement over the surplus. The Republican co-chairs of the Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee said the latest downward estimate confirms that the Legislature is on the right track in creating a “cautious budget.”

No matter the spin, the surplus is jaw-dropping and more than the state has ever seen before.

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Shortages of lifeguards that have kept pools closed in some Wisconsin communities over the last three years are easing, but some cities may still have to delay openings.

Officials in Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay said hiring conditions are better this year. But they said they are still struggling to lure potential lifeguards, despite higher wages and free training. The shortage – also felt nationwide – is not new to Wisconsin but was compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Andrea Wallace, assistant director of recreation and business services for the Milwaukee County Parks, said many employees are young and busy with extracurricular activities or internships. In response, the county adjusted its model in 2022 to offer some flexibility, waiving a minimum hours requirement for employees, Wallace said.

And, she and other community leaders said, the certification process for lifeguards makes hiring tough.

The pandemic may have worsened the lifeguard shortage. Pool closures in 2020 meant that many did not get any exposure to the water, let alone develop strong enough swimming skills to rescue someone, Wallace said.

—WI Public Radio

Since the pandemic, fewer Wisconsin students have reliably made it to school. The state’s attendance rate reached a new low of 91 percent last year and chronic absenteeism continues to be an issue, with more than 22 percent of students missing at least a month of school.

The picture is even more grim for high school students. The latest state data shows more than a quarter — 26 percent — of Wisconsin high school students missed a month of the 2021-2022 school year.

A student is considered chronically absent when they attend less than 90 percent of school days. The overall attendance rate for Wisconsin high school students was 89.7. Milwaukee Public Schools high school students attended only 70 percent of the time.

In Milwaukee Public Schools — where attendance was the worst in the state last year at 79.3 percent and 58 percent of students are considered chronically absent — students who are exposed or have had close contact to someone with COVID-19 must quarantine for five days if they haven’t been vaccinated.

State data shows 39 Wisconsin school districts had attendance levels lower than 90 percent last year. The majority of the districts are located in southeastern Wisconsin and northern Wisconsin and schools with higher rates of absenteeism also generally serve a larger share of students of color.

The larger districts include Milwaukee, Madison Metropolitan School District, Racine Unified School District, Kenosha Unified School District and the School District of Beloit. Smaller rural districts include Lac du Flambeau Public School, Menominee Indian School District and the Bowler School District.

—WI Public Radio

Former President Donald Trump on Monday applauded Special Counsel John Durham’s report concluding that the FBI never had any evidence of Russia collusion to justify its probe of his campaign in 2016, calling it a “total vindication” personally and vowing to make sweeping changes at the bureau and Justice Department if he wins back the presidency in 2024.

“I was very honored by this report,” Trump said in an interview with the John Solomon Reports podcast at Just the News. “I’ll be honest, the detail was incredible. I waited and everybody waited, and we waited a long time. But this is tremendous detail when you look at it. He’s obviously very detail oriented.

“But this is tremendous detail, total vindication,” he said of the 300-plus page Durham report released Monday by the department, under which Durham was special counsel.

Trump said the effort by rival Hillary Clinton’s campaign and her allies in the federal bureaucracy to create a false Russia collusion allegation against his campaign affected two consecutive elections.

“It’s a shame,” he said. “It’s a total violation of about every rule and principle you can have. It’s total dishonesty, and more than anything else that affected the 2020 presidential election, much more so than the 2016 election.”

—Just the News

People growing up in the city of Chicago have about a one in fifteen chances of being shot by the time they turn 40, results of a new survey suggest.

Last weekend, at least 26 people in Chicago were shot, eight fatally, including three who were wounded while standing on a sidewalk and caught in the crossfire between two vehicles. That’s up from the 20 citizens who were shot, and the four killed by gunfire, the previous weekend.

A new study finds that 6.46% (1 in 15) of Chicagoans had been shot by their 40th birthday. What’s more, half (50.0%) had witnessed a shooting by that age.

According to the results of the study of more than twenty-four hundred Chicagoans, published last Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Blacks and Hispanics are much more likely than are Whites to be shot by the time they turn 40.

—Media Research Center

The Mexican ambassador to the United States criticized Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., over comments he made at a hearing last week, calling the lawmaker’s words “vulgar and racist.”

Kennedy at the hearing questioned Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Anne Milgram, asking about fentanyl moved into the United States from Mexico. The lawmaker spoke about the size of the countries’ economies and the U.S. buying goods from Mexico.

“Without the people of America, Mexico, figuratively speaking, would be eating cat food out of a can and living in a tent behind an Outback,” Kennedy said.

The Embassy of Mexico in the U.S. shared a 2-page letter that Ambassador Esteban Moctezuma wrote to Kennedy, dated Thursday.

“Mr. Senator, it is not through offenses and threats that constructive collaboration between allied nations such as the US and Mexico can be achieved,” he said.

USA TODAY has reached out to Kennedy’s office for comment.


A Georgia Democratic General Assembly member slammed members of her party recently, accusing them of “lying about their address” to send their own children to better schools while simultaneously rejecting a school choice bill.

Representative Mesha Mainor angered her fellow Democrats when she stood with Republicans in support of Georgia Senate Bill 233, which would have provided $6,500 vouchers to parents with students performing in the bottom 25% in the state. The vouchers could have been used to pay for private school tuition and homeschooling expenses.

SB 233 received support from Republican Governor Brian Kemp but was voted down last month by 16 House Republicans. However, the bill could be voted on again at a later time.

The legislation’s critics claimed it would take much-needed funding away from the public school systems in poorer neighborhoods. As part of the program, a public school’s funding would decrease with every student that opted to leave and use their voucher at a private institution.

Mainor, a supporter of “parent choice,” was the only Democrat to vote in favor of the legislation.

“Why is no one fighting for young Black minds? Why isn’t that one of the things that we’re fighting for?” Mainor told Fox News Digital. “I actually say you’re a hypocrite. That’s what I tell them directly. You are being a hypocrite. There are state lawmakers right now where their children are in schools that they’re not even zoned for … They’re lying about their address, state lawmakers, but they won’t vote for this bill.”

—The Blaze

Martha Stewart, who is 81-years-old, posed for the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, making her the oldest cover model in SI swimsuit issue history.

Stewart was reportedly photographed by Ruven Afandor in the Dominican Republic. In a teaser image posted by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, the 81-year-old lifestyle guru can be seen clad in a very low-cut white bathing suit.

“When I heard that I was going to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, I thought, Oh, that’s pretty good, I’m going to be the oldest person I think ever on a cover of Sports Illustrated,” Stewart said. “And I don’t think about age very much, but I thought that this is kind of historic.”

In addition to Stewart, the magazine revealed that actress Megan Fox, transgender singer Kim Petras, and model Brooks Nader will also be featured on this year’s covers.

“There is no theme [to this year’s issue] — rather, there is a vision, a sentiment, a hope that women can live in a world where they feel no limitations, internally or externally,” SI swimsuit editor-in-chief MJ Day said in a statement.

—Breitbart News

A city in northern Michigan has a new Mother’s Day memory: A 350-pound bear was in a tree for hours, watched by dozens of people, before it fell asleep and dropped onto mattresses below.

“It’s like the best block party ever,” Annette Andersen said.

The drama in Traverse City began when wildlife experts responded to a morning call about a bear in a leafy tree. They fired at least four tranquilizer darts into his butt. The bear snoozed on a thick limb before finally dropping to the ground by early afternoon Sunday.

Ashlea Walter hauled mattresses from her house to soften the fall.

The bear was transferred on a tarp to a cylindrical bear trap after his vital signs and airway were checked.

Next stop: a long drive and release in a wooded area, probably 50-60 miles.

—Associated Press


I hope you had a great Mother’s Day weekend! Millions of Americans did. But the “T” wing of the LGBTQ community did their best to ruin it.

Some activists demanded the end of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day because they are “discriminatory.” Instead, they want them replaced by a generic “Parents Day.”

Videos were all over social media of men dressed like women talking with their children about how they are the child’s mom. One long-suffering wife angrily reacted to her husband, now a “trans woman,” by telling him, “You won’t steal [Mother’s Day] from me!”

One of the big themes in these social media posts was that trans women — men pretending to be women — can get pregnant and be moms. No, they can’t! That would be one heck of a difficult childbirth!

It’s easy to laugh at and mock the left’s transgender insanity. But this is deadly serious. The people who fall for this almost always do so because they want to be “tolerant” and “compassionate.” But they fail to realize that the thing they are tolerating intends to stamp out all normalcy.

By the way, 56% of Americans say that motherhood is the “most important role for a woman to fill in today’s world.” Strong majorities of Republicans (68%) and Independents (55%) agree with that statement, while only 47% of Democrats agree.

—Gary Bauer

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – In 1920, Joan of Arc, national heroine of France, was canonized as a saint by Pope Benedict XV.

One thought on “NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Tuesday, May 16, 2023

  1. Pingback: My Most Popular Blogs (05/22/2023) | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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