NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Thursday, May 18, 2023

Briefs are posted every weekday morning, M-F


A Wisconsin school district is charging a state-based law firm over $11,000 for records related to a recent incident at a local high school, where a trans-identifying male showered naked in front of four female students.

In an April 19 letter sent to the Sun Prairie Area School District (SPASD), the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) filed an open records request for any and all communications related to a March incident at Sun Prairie East High School (EHS), in which an 18-year-old male student, who claims to be a woman, purportedly showered unclothed in the girl’s school locker room in the presence of four female, freshmen students. In its letter, WILL called on the district “to address [the incident] immediately and put policies in place that will protect the safety and privacy of all students (and provide public notice of what those policies are).”

Sun Prairie, a Madison suburb, is located in the deep-blue enclave of Dane County.

In its May 10 response to WILL, Lori Lubinsky, who serves as SPASD’s general counsel, claimed it would cost over $11,000 to fulfill the law firm’s request for records surrounding the EHS showering incident. Obtained by The Federalist, Lubinsky’s letter notes the cost for SPASD “to search the individual email accounts of all certified staff at EHS” for relevant documents is nearly $5,000. The district further claims it would cost over $5,000 for EHS staff to search for all “texts, messages, voicemails and other communications” related to the March incident.

“Until this estimate is paid, the District will not proceed to locate any responsive records to this request,” the letter reads.

While speaking with The Federalist last month, Libby Sobic, WILL’s director of education policy, said the legal group has “questions” and “concerns” about SPASD meeting its Title IX “obligations under the existing federal law.”

Title IX requires school districts “to have clear policies on what is appropriate and what’s not, and it requires them to have a Title IX coordinator who’s supposed to make sure that these things are implemented,” Sobic said. “But when this incident was brought to the attention of the school administrators, they failed to do any of those steps.”

—The Federalist

Republicans in the state Assembly unveiled changes to a sweeping plan to fund local governments Wednesday, including a new provision that would boost state funding for many communities throughout Wisconsin.

But other elements of the original GOP bill remained intact, including restrictions on how local governments can spend state funding and a requirement that Milwaukee and Milwaukee County ask voters for permission before they’re allowed to raise local sales taxes.

Republicans released the plan the same day Democratic Gov. Tony Evers released a statement saying he was optimistic the two sides would strike a bipartisan compromise. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said many of the changes in the bill were aimed at addressing Evers’ concerns but that it was time to move the plan “across the finish line.”

“We are done negotiating,” Vos told reporters assembled outside the Capitol late Wednesday afternoon.

The new proposal would give most cities a 15 percent increase in state funding, up from 10 percent in the original bill. The notable exception would be Milwaukee, which would receive a 10 percent increase. Republicans said they gave Milwaukee a lower percentage increase because the city and county would be able to increase sales taxes.

A provision to require Milwaukee to reinstate police presence in public schools remained in the latest proposal, with a new caveat that those school resource officers will have to receive 40 hours of training.

The latest version of the plan would also let public health officers close businesses for up to 30 days in the event of a pandemic or other public health emergency, or up to 60 days with a vote from the local governing board. Under the original Republican plan, those closures could only last 14 days.

—WI Public Radio

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis plans to officially enter the 2024 presidential race next week, as the Republican gathers top fundraisers in Miami, according to two people familiar with the plans.

The second-term governor, widely considered at present to be the most viable GOP challenger to former president Donald Trump, has been laying the groundwork for a campaign for months. In speeches around the country, he has touted his landslide reelection win last year and his sweeping legislative agenda in Florida — passed this spring by GOP supermajorities — and also implicitly pitched himself as a better bet than Trump in the general election.

—The Washington Post

Montana officially became the first state to ban TikTok on Wednesday after Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a bill restricting downloads of the immensely popular social media app into law.

The legislation, which was passed last month, makes it illegal for app stores to give users the option to download TikTok and illegal for the company to operate within the state.

The law is likely to face challenges in court arguing it restricts free speech, but Gianforte praised its privacy protections.

“The Chinese Communist Party using TikTok to spy on Americans, violate their privacy, and collect their personal, private, and sensitive information is well-documented,” Gianforte said in a news release, calling the law “the most decisive action of any state.”

—NBC News

Catholic father and pro-life activist Mark Houck testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee, recalling when an FBI official raided his home in front of his seven children.

Houck told Congress he believes the FBI raid was designed to humiliate him, scare his children, and “instill fear in pro-life America.”

On September 23, five FBI agents arrived at his home at 6:30 in the morning, pointing M-16 rifles at Houck and his young children.

“My children were downrange of many guns, and they screamed throughout the process. The committee should know they were traumatized,” the devout Catholic said.

Houck’s home was raided after the father reportedly shoved a pro-abortion clinic volunteer, Bruce Love, who was intimidating his 12-year-old son. The FBI took up the case, claiming Houck violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) argued that the woke agency targeted Houck for being pro-life.

“So if you’re pro-family, pro-life, and you want a border, you’re a target — and your family fits all of them,” Jordan told Houck. “You’re a pro-life, pro-family Catholic, for goodness’ sake; they’re going to come after you. You’ve got seven kids. You’re not allowed to have seven kids today, you know, we’re trying to save the planet. You can’t do that in America today. You were the example. That is how pervasive this political attitude is at the highest levels of our agencies.”


Ten House Republicans and Navy veterans, led by Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA), are demanding answers from Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro on why it chose a sailor who is a drag queen influencer on the Chinese app TikTok as one of the service’s five “Digital Ambassadors” to help with recruitment.

In a letter sent to Del Toro on Tuesday, they wrote:

We write to express our grave concerns over reports that the United States Navy recruited a drag queen to join the ‘Digital Ambassador’ program to promote Navy recruitment on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influenced app, TikTok, which was banned from official devices by the U.S. Navy in 2019.

Despite facing what a Navy spokesperson describes as, ‘the most challenging recruiting environment since the start of the all-volunteer force,’ the Biden Administration’s Department of the Navy continues to implement radical, reckless, and woke policies that deter capable recruits from volunteering to defend this Nation’s freedoms.

As Navy veterans, we understand that a woke military is a weak military.

The signatories include GOP lawmakers and Navy veterans Andrew Clyde (GA), Eli Crane (AZ), Andy Harris (MD), Dan Crenshaw (TX), Morgan Luttrell (TX), Mike Garcia (CA), Ryan Zinke (MT), Guy Reschenthaler (PA), C. Scott Franklin (FL), and Ronny Jackson (TX).

Their letter comes in response to the Navy recently confirming that it appointed an active-duty enlisted sailor who identifies as “nonbinary” as one of its first five “Digital Ambassadors” in a pilot program that ran from October 2022 to March 2023, aimed at recruiting from new pools of applicants.

The lawmakers noted that the sailor, Joshua Kelley, who goes by the stage name “Harpy Daniels,” frequently posts videos on TikTok and Instagram accounts of himself switching from his Navy uniform to his drag queen costumes.

“As a 28-year Navy combat veteran, I’m displeased and greatly disappointed with the Navy’s decision to not only allow this individual to represent our heroic Sailors, but to promote his drag queen activities as part of the Navy’s recruiting efforts. Our service members should be solely focused on maintaining the most deadly military force in the world, not dressing up in drag,” Clyde said in a statement.

—Breitbart News

The retailer Target has blamed organized crime and rampant shoplifting for their decline in profits, claiming such incidents have taken a whopping $1.2 billion this year alone.

In the company’s earnings call on Wednesday, the retailer projected a significant impact on profits amounting to a staggering $500 million this year, attributing it mostly to inventory shrinkage resulting from merchandise theft.

Taking into account an additional $700 million profit decline from inventory shrinkage in 2022, the company is on track to witness a total loss of $1.2 billion in profits.

Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell told reporters on Wednesday’s earnings call that the problem is only getting worse:

“The unfortunate fact is violent incidents are increasing at our stores and across the entire retail industry. And when products are stolen, simply put they are no longer available for guests who depend on them.”

In recent years, the issue of organized retail crime has escalated, with criminal gangs seeking to obtain goods and sell them at lower prices to consumers amidst a worsening economic climate.

—Red State

Anheuser-Busch will temporarily redesign its Bud Light and Budweiser aluminum bottles with camouflage print in an effort to boost sales after its promotion of a transgender influencer, according to a report.

The company is set to launch a line of camouflage aluminum bottles that promote the “Folds of Honor” program, which provides educational scholarships for families of fallen and disabled American military service members and first responders, the New York Post reported.

“It’s an aluminum bottle,” a source familiar with the plan told the Post. “I believe it is the only package that will be transitioning, but I am not 100% certain on that.”

—FOX News


Of all the things this country needs—stronger borders, better-paying jobs, some basic safety on our streets—above all, America needs stronger men.

The left has spent decades running men down, blaming them for everything from climate change to “the patriarchy.” They’re wrong. Strong men aren’t the problem. For America, stronger, better men are the solution.

All is not well with men in this country. The numbers tell the tale. Men are lonelier than ever before. They’re dropping out of the labor force in greater numbers than ever before. They’re struggling more with drug abuse and alcohol. They increasingly forego a college education, even as they delay getting married and having kids.

If any other demographic group was struggling to this extent, we’d call it a national crisis. And it is.

But the left doesn’t see it that way. They blame boys and men for the sins of the world. They say all masculinity is “toxic,” that simply to be a man is to make the world a worse place. They propose to do away with “traditional masculinity” altogether.

The left’s campaign to re-educate men begins as early as preschool, where too many boys are punished for aggressive play and, if they don’t comply, medicated out of their boyishness. As young men, they’re denied the manufacturing jobs that allowed their fathers to earn good wages—the governing class having long ago shipped those jobs overseas—and set adrift on college campuses filled with activists who despise them. And popular culture relentlessly bangs this same drum: when men aren’t morons, they’re actively evil.

At bottom, this critique of men is rooted in a lie: that men shouldn’t be leaders, creators, and heroes, but just consumers looking out for themselves.

The truth is just the opposite. We need men to step up.

America’s men have the power to transform this country for the better. Want to curb the epidemic of child poverty? Get a father to start contributing to his wife and children. Want to address the cataclysm of youth violence? Put a father in the picture. Men can help bring peace and order to a nation wracked by crises. They can change the destiny of their families and whole neighborhoods. Their power, once tapped, can be a mighty and world-shaping thing.

For years, American men have heard just one story—that they’re outmoded and oppressive, that the best they can do is stand aside and let today’s elites run things. It’s a story preached by our contemporary culture from cradle to grave. Stand down. Be passive. You’ll just make things worse.

It’s time to start telling a better story. It’s time to call our boys and men to lead.

That’s how you transform a nation.

— Republican Josh Hawley represents Missouri in the United States Senate and is the author of Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs.

Look, my friends – look at what they have taken from us. This week, Oscar Mayer announced that its iconic (I do not use that word lightly) hot dog vehicle, known for 87 years as the Wienermobile, will now be called…

Wait for it…

The “Frankmobile.”

This change pains my soul, and I cannot remain silent. For nearly a century, we lovers of processed meats have leapt at the sight of the Wienermobile as it rolled down the street; we have hollered unbidden and overcome with passion at the sight of its tubular glory. Our joy has been pure and glorious. This joy could never be replicated by a “Frankmobile.”

Wienermobile sounds like a vehicle of beauty and goodness. “Frankmobile” sounds like a van full of sweaty dudes.

Oh, also, the “Frankmobile” has a new decal on the side that says “please do not lick.”

An Oscar Mayer spokesperson told CNN that the company is “trying [the new name] out to see if it ‘cuts the mustard’ with its fans.” The spokesperson would not confirm that the name change is permanent.

So, I hope that in a few months – after the press has died down – the company will announce that fans have unanimously demanded a return to the Wienermobile name, and the “Frankmobile” will be left on the ash heap of history.

— Archer Parquette is the managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – In 1980, the eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state triggers the largest landslide in history, killing 57 people and causing over $1 billion in damage.

May be an image of hotdog and text

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