NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Briefs are posted every weekday morning, M-F


Police have arrested a man they believe intentionally crashed a U-Haul truck into a security barrier at a park across from the White House.

The box truck’s driver smashed into the barrier near the north side of Lafayette Square on Monday around 10 p.m., Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement. No one was injured.

Officers from the Secret Service and the Metropolitan Police Department searched the truck after the crash. Video posted by WUSA-TV shows a police officer at the scene picking up and inventorying several pieces of evidence from the truck, including a Nazi flag.

Based on a preliminary investigation, investigators believe the driver “may have intentionally struck the security barriers at Lafayette Square,” Guglielmi said. Authorities offered no additional details about the possible motive and had not released the driver’s identity.

The U.S. Park Police said the man was arrested on multiple charges, including threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on a president, vice president or member of their family; assault with a dangerous weapon; reckless driving; destruction of federal property; and trespassing.

—Associated Press

The National Football League draft is coming to Green Bay.

The league awarded Green Bay the 2025 draft during the league meeting Monday in Minneapolis. It’s the culmination of seven years effort by the Green Bay Packers and Discover Green Bay, the local tourism bureau.

The Packers estimate 240,000 people will attend the draft in Green Bay, generating a $94 million economic impact statewide and $20 million locally. Kansas City reported 320,000 visitors for the 2023 draft held in April.

“The Packers have a rich and proud history that goes back to the early days of the NFL and are the only community-owned team,” Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said. “That connection to our league’s heritage combined with the great passion Packers fans will bring will make the draft a memorable event for those in attendance and NFL fans watching around the world. You’ve got a lot of cities that want to host it because you know the economic impact. This is basically a two-year commercial on all the benefits Green Bay has to offer.”

The draft, which is one of the NFL’s tentpole events along with the Super Bowl, takes place over three days — Thursday through Saturday near the end of April. But buildout begins as much as a month in advance.

Green Bay has a physical setup similar to that in Cleveland, which hosted the 2021 draft. Cleveland centered the draft on the Browns’ FirstEnergy Stadium, the Great Lakes Science Center and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The Packers would have a similar footprint with the Resch Center/Resch Expo complex, Lambeau Field and the Titletown District.

The main portion of the event will take place on the Lambeau Field and Titletown campus, with other venues used as needed.

It’s expected that, much like when the Ryder Cup was held near Sheboygan, hotels from Green Bay to Milwaukee and Madison will host draft attendees. By itself, the Green Bay metro area doesn’t have enough hotel rooms to satisfy draft-week requirements.

—Green Bay Press Gazette

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers has introduced a package of bills aimed at addressing Wisconsin’s affordable housing crisis.

Supporters of the legislation say the bills will target high construction costs through low- to zero-interest loans for certain housing projects, as well as make it easier for local governments to approve housing developments.

One of the bills aims to make it harder for residents to block new housing as long as a proposed development meets existing zoning requirements. Under the bill, a municipal government must approve a residential housing development if it meets local zoning requirements.

State Sen. Romaine Quinn, R-Cameron, referenced a project in Wauwatosa, in which plans for an apartment complex were abandoned and replaced by a car wash after the development faced opposition and a lawsuit from community members.

He said cases like that happen across the state where residents, with a “not in my backyard” mindset, band together to block new housing.

“There are times, and I’ve seen it, where four people show up at a meeting that no one else is at and complain, and it throws a project off,” he said. “Well, what about the 100 people that would have found a home? Don’t they matter, too?”

Jerry Deschane, executive director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, called the legislation a “truth in zoning bill.” He said it reinforces municipalities’ existing zoning codes and comprehensive plans. Deshane said the bill still allows community members to potentially block a project that requires a property to be rezoned — such as putting a multifamily apartment complex in a neighborhood zoned for single-family use.

—WI Public Radio

Wisconsin Republicans have joined a national push to outlaw child sex dolls, releasing a proposal Monday that would make possessing one a felony.

A number of states have passed laws outlawing child sex dolls since 2019, including Florida, Tennessee, South Dakota and Hawaii. Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signed a bill Friday outlawing the dolls in her state. Republican legislation banning them nationwide — dubbed the Creeper Act — has been floating around the U.S. House of Representatives since at least 2017.

England has banned importation of such dolls, and Canadian law classifies the dolls as child pornography.

Wisconsin state Rep. Joy Goeben and Sen. Jesse James’ bill would define a child sex doll as an anatomically correct doll, mannequin or robot with features that resemble a minor and is intended for sexual uses.

Anyone caught possessing such a doll would be guilty of a felony punishable by up to 3 1/2 years in prison. A first offense involving three or more dolls or a second offense would be punishable by up to 6 years. A third or subsequent offense would be punishable by up to 10 years.

If the doll resembles a specific minor the offender would face up to 15 years in prison for a first offense. Subsequent offenses involving a doll resembling a specific child would be punishable by up to 25 years.

—Wisconsin AP

Hillary Clinton weighed in on concerns surrounding President Biden’s age, saying it’s a legitimate issue and “people have every right to consider it.”

Clinton made the under-the-radar comments on Saturday at the Financial Times Weekend Festival in Washington, D.C., when questioned about Biden stumbling at the G7 Summit in Japan.

“There was that heart-stopping moment when he almost fell over coming down the stairs a day or two ago,” Financial Times editor Edward Luce said. “He didn’t use a railing, and Jill wasn’t there with him.

“Every time that happens, your heart is in your mouth because these things could be consequential. Is that a concern?” he asked.

Clinton responded, “It’s a concern for anyone. We’ve had presidents who had fallen before who were a lot younger, and people didn’t go into heart palpitations.”

“But his age is an issue, and people have every right to consider it,” Clinton added. “But, you know, he has this great saying – and I think he’s right – don’t judge him for running against the Almighty but against the alternative. I am of the camp that I think he’s determined to run; he has a good record that, three years ago, people would not have predicted would have gotten done.”

—FOX News

President Biden told US forces stationed in Japan that his son Beau perished in the Iraq War, a video obtained exclusively by The NY Post reveals — after the president stoked questions about his own mental acuity by making the same incorrect claim at least twice last year.

“My son was a major in the US Army. We lost him in Iraq,” the 80-year-old president said during an informal visit with troops at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Thursday.

The traveling press corps, which has faced repeated access issues while covering the nation’s oldest-ever president, was kept far enough away that the remarks were inaudible.

The White House press office did not put out an official transcript, almost allowing the error to escape public notice.

Biden said in October of last year that Beau “lost his life in Iraq” and claimed the following month that Iraq was “where my son died.”

In fact, the president’s son died of brain cancer in 2015 at the Walter Reed military hospital in Bethesda, Md.

Such glaring factual errors are a political liability for Biden, who is seeking a second term in 2024.

A Washington Post-ABC poll released earlier this month found that just 32% of the public believes Biden has the mental sharpness required to serve as president.

—NY Post

Amid reports the White House is angry about Mayor Eric Adams’ public criticism of President Joe Biden, Adams warned Sunday that the migrant crisis could cost fellow Democrats at the polls.

Speaking on MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show With Jonathan Capehart,” Adams compared the migrant crisis to public safety, the central talking point of his 2021 campaign.

“When I talked about public safety and the over-proliferation of guns in our country last year, many people were not listening to the concern of voters. And I am saying that again,” the mayor said.

The president’s reelection campaign recently left Adams off a high-profile squad of surrogates, a move widely seen as resulting from the mayor’s harsh criticism of Biden’s handling of waves of migrants reaching New York City.

Adams’ accusations that the “national government has turned its back” on the city have enraged top Biden aides, according to the New York Times. They reportedly view Adams as grandstanding and trying to win headlines for himself without weighing the political consequences for the president.

The mayor’s broadsides have left Biden’s campaign manager privately fuming, Axios reported last week.

Most Democrats have been taking pains to avoid criticizing the president, the Times noted.

While insisting Sunday that he supports the commander-in-chief, Adams repeated calls for more federal funding to handle migrants in New York City, which has struggled to send the recent arrivals out of town as the shelter system is overwhelmed.

To drive home the point, he repeated stats illustrating the extent of the crisis.

The city is caring for 42,000 migrants, many of them housed in mid-sized hotels, according to the mayor. Nearly 40% of such hotels are full as a result, he added.

“This is not sustainable for us and we believe it’s not right for the people of the city,” Adams said, noting New York got just $30 million of $350 million the Federal Emergency Management Agency allocated for humanitarian assistance for migrants.

—The website Governing

The family of the California man killed while helping ducks cross the street remembered the married father of two for his “final act of kindness.”

A fundraiser started by the grieving family of Casey Rivara identified him as the man seen helping a family of ducks get across a busy road on May 18 before he was fatally struck by a car driven by a 17-year-old driver.

“Casey was the kindest, most amazing husband and father,” Casey’s aunt Tracey Rivara said on the verified GoFundMe page.

“Even his last act in this world was a sign of his compassion. The family is trying to figure out how to recover and keep going after this immense loss.”

Rivara’s tragic death happened in the city of Rocklin just after 8 p.m. when a witness told KCRA 3 the man left his car to usher the ducks across traffic.

“He got out of the car and shooing the ducks and everyone was clapping because he was being really nice,” said 12-year-old William Wimsatt.

Shortly after the ducks made it safely to the other side of the street, the teen said the man was hit by a car that seemed to come out of nowhere.

—NY Post

Only half of Americans now say they are sure God exists.

That finding, from the closely watched General Social Survey, stands out among several nuggets of new data about religion in America.

Not quite 50 percent of Americans say they have no doubt about the existence of God, according to the 2022 survey, released Wednesday by NORC, the University of Chicago research organization. As recently as 2008, the share of sure-believers topped 60 percent.

Thirty-four percent of Americans never go to church, NORC found, the highest figure recorded in five decades of surveys.

Another new report, from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), said that 27 percent of Americans claimed no religion in 2022, up from 19 percent in 2012 and 16 percent in 2006.

The PRRI report tracks a historic decline in the nation’s Christian population, especially among white people. The share of Americans who identify as white evangelical Protestants has dwindled from 23 percent to 14 percent since 2006. The share of mainline white Protestants has fallen from 18 percent to 14 percent. White Catholics have declined from 16 percent of the population to 13 percent.

That is not to say Americans are not spiritual. Nearly three-quarters of people believe in life after death, NORC data show. That number has remained relatively stable over the decades.

Only 7 percent of people do not believe in God.

—The Hill


The obvious reaction to the bizarre idea that Chris Christie will soon enter the 2024 GOP primaries and then win the general election – “Fat chance! – is accurate on every level. The rotund Republican has zero support among the base, having missed his window a decade ago and having gone on to become one of those Republicans whose primary function is to trash other Republicans – a chubby chimp dancing for dimes as the MSNBC organ grinders play. Why is he running? Delusion? Narcissism? Greed? Who knows?

Who cares?

We’ve talked about Nikki Haley before. Remember her? She’s still running for vice president, er, president. I spoke to about 150 conservative women in Washington state the other night and mentioned her. Her support was zero. Nada. Nil. Yet now the aforementioned Pillsbury Doughcandidate and a few other no-hopers are joining her in spending tens of millions to top out at 3%.

Add Mike Pence to the Footnote Force, about 20 years after the last election where his brand of milquetoast Weekly Standard weakness had any resonance. Just this week he decried Republican candidates doing things their voters cared about, like taking on the communist corporations trying to turn us into a gender-ambiguous wine-woman dictatorship.

Then there’s Tim Scott, the favorite of everyone who thinks Mike Pence is too fiery and aggressive. I like Tim Scott. Heck, I like Mike Pence too. They would make terrific Sunday school teachers, but it’s Saturday night and all right for fighting. Gentle people like them have a role, and that role is not “leader.”

The enemy hates us, and it is dead serious about converting its hatred into policy. From legalizing crime to weaponizing the government against us, from disenfranchising us at the ballot box to disarming us in our homes, to gagging us on social media and leveraging the regime media to hide the truth and amplify the lies, this is a cold war where we become serfs if we don’t win. It’s not the time for Team Use Your Inside Voice. The enemy holds every major institution; if you are worried about collateral damage to the institutions that seek to enslave us – or worse – then you don’t have the stones to flatten them and their current occupants. And that’s what we need to do.

Here’s the test –– we need a guy who will pick up his saber, yell “Follow me!” and charge.

Why do Christie and Scott and Pence think they can win? Presidential politics is weird because otherwise sensible people become deluded into imagining that they have a chance. These guys have no chance. They are losers.

Here’s the reality – this is a race between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, who is widely-expected to make it official soon. There’s no one else in the Octagon.

No, this race is not about policy because that’s been decided. Our policy is to destroy the left. We had the choice of a sissy Pence peace or war, and we chose war. Think back to the Kavanaugh thing – can you imagine any candidate except Trump or DeSantis not folding like a house of cards when the ruling caste wagged its finger?

No, the GOP’s decision in 2024 is solely over the identity of the general who will take command.

The fact is that some people, including Republicans who should know better, irrationally hate Trump and will never vote for him.

Of course, some Republicans will never vote for anyone else.

We know both guys hate wokeness, communism, crime and all the other aspects of the Democrat agenda. What we need to know is how they each propose to win in PA, GA, AZ, MI, and WI.

This race is about winning and only about winning. And that’s why Christie, Pence, and Scott won’t really be in the race even after they get into it. It’s Ron or Don, and I’m voting for whichever one wins the nomination. I just hope he can pull it off in November.

—Kurt Schlichter is a political columnist

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – Bonnie and Clyde, notorious American outlaws, were killed in a police shoot-out near Gibsland, Louisiana in 1934.

One thought on “NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Tuesday, May 23, 2023

  1. Pingback: My Most Popular Blogs (05/29/2023) | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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