Saturday, May 14, 2022
Saturday, May 14, 2022

Milwaukee Press Club 'Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism' 2020 & 2021 Award Winners

20 Shot in 2 Shootings Near Milwaukee’s Deer District after Bucks-Celtics Game

20 people were shot in two shootings Friday night in downtown Milwaukee after the Bucks-Celtics game, Milwaukee Police said.

17 people were shot on Water St. in a mass shooting at about 11:09pm in the 1100 block of N. Water Street.

There were 17 victims, ages ranging from 15-47 years of age. Ten people are in custody and 9-firearms were recovered regarding this incident.

All victims are expected to survive.

That shooting happened shortly after another shooting in the 1100 block of MLK  around 9:12 p.m. Friday, in which three people were shot.

The victims were a 29-year-old male, a 16-year-old female, and a 26-year-old male. There was a 19-year-old male taken into custody in connection with this incident.

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U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack: Illegal Immigrants Getting Baby Formula While Americans Left With Empty Shelves

(The Center Square) – U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack and other Republican lawmakers are calling on the FDA and the Biden administration to take immediate action to solve a months-long baby formula shortage that's left parents scrambling to find healthy food for their infant children.

Cammack, R-Florida, called on Americans to “demand that the administration take action putting the baby formula back on the shelves for American kids,” prioritizing them over illegal immigrants.

Cammack posted photos of stocked shelves of baby formula at a Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Texas alongside a photo of empty shelves in an American store. Describing them, she said, “The first photo is from this morning at the Ursula Processing Center at the U.S. border. Shelves and pallets packed with baby formula. The second is from a shelf right here at home. Formula is scarce."

The Florida congresswoman was referring to the Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas, which is the largest detention facility at the southern border where illegal immigrants are held during processing. By law, federal agents are required to provide food and water to illegal immigrants held in detention facilities. CBP officers are also required to determine admissibility of baby formula for personal and commercial use that is brought into the country.

“We literally are struggling to find baby formula around the country,” Cammack said during a Facebook Live stream. “Moms are struggling, going from store to store to store and then the stores are actually capping the amount of baby formula that they will sell them but, and this got sent to me by a Border Patrol agent this morning, and said, ‘This is disgusting. You will not believe this. They’re receiving pallets, and more pallets of baby formula at the border.'”

She added, “He has been a border patrol agent for 30 years and he has never seen anything quite like this. He is a grandfather and he is saying that his own children can’t get baby formula.”

In response, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a joint statement with National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd saying, "President Biden has turned a blind eye to parents across America who are facing the nightmare of a nationwide baby formula shortage.

“While mothers and fathers stare at empty grocery store shelves in a panic, the Biden Administration is happy to provide baby formula to illegal immigrants coming across our southern border.

As of April 24, 40% of the top-selling baby formula products were out of stock nationwide, according to an analysis by Datasembly, which tracked baby formula stock at more than 11,000 stores, CBS News reported.

“This is yet another one in a long line of reckless, out-of-touch priorities from the Biden Administration when it comes to securing our border and protecting Americans," the joint statement from Abbott and Judd said. "Our children deserve a president who puts their needs and survival first – not one who gives critical supplies to illegal immigrants before the very people he took an oath to serve."

On Tuesday, House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., and Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf requesting answers on the shortage. Stefanik has been contacting the FDA about the shortage since February.

Also on Tuesday, Califf issued a statement providing an update on the FDA’s failure to increase the availability of infant and specialty formula products. In February, it warned consumers not to use certain products from Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, Michigan, facility, which had issued a voluntary recall of certain products. Since then, increasing shortages, coupled with supply chain and other issues, have led to what is now a crisis for many.

“We recognize that many consumers have been unable to access infant formula and critical medical foods they are accustomed to using and are frustrated by their inability to do so. We are doing everything in our power to ensure there is adequate product available where and when they need it,” Califf said. “Ensuring the availability of safe, sole-source nutrition products like infant formula is of the utmost importance to the FDA. Our teams have been working tirelessly to address and alleviate supply issues and will continue doing everything within our authority to ensure the production of safe infant formula products.”

Stefanik led a coalition on Thursday calling on the FDA and the Biden administration to take immediate action.

“Joe Biden simply has no plan. In fact, when Joe Biden's White House was asked about the shortage, they laughed. Shameful," Stefanik said. "Make no mistake, there is nothing laughable or funny about this crisis."

The administration “should have had a plan for this shortage months ago," she added. "Instead, bare shelves Biden has continued to pass the buck. … This is not a Third World country. This should never happen in the United States of America. We're unified in demanding action to address this crisis."

More than 100 House Republicans wrote a letter to Biden Wednesday demanding that he address the shortage “with the appropriate urgency it deserves.”

Karine Jean-Pierre, White House principal deputy press secretary, addressed the issue during a press briefing on Wednesday. She told reporters, "Ensuring that infant formula is safe and available for families across the country is a top priority to the White House and this administration. This is an urgent issue that the FDA, as you all know, and the White House is working 24/7 to address."

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University Diversity

Study Shows University Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Programs Ineffective, Overstaffed

(The Center Square) – The promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, on college campuses has become a big focus in academia, but a study says many of the programs are bloated and have a high taxpayer cost.

The Heritage Foundation found that colleges’ vast DEI bureaucracy has little to do with students’ satisfaction with their college.

The study showed the average university has 45.1 people tasked with promoting diversity, equity and inclusion, but some schools have many more.

At the University of Illinois alone, there are 71 DEI personnel, which is four out of every 100 faculty members. At Northwestern University, there are 52 DEI faculty members.

Many DEI employees earn six-figure salaries for leading initiatives that the authors found to be ineffective and instead enforce a “political orthodoxy.”

Sean Garrick, vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion at the U of I, earns nearly $330,000 a year, the study found.

Heritage Foundation researcher Jay Greene said university officials could be adding DEI staff in an effort to avoid trouble on campus.

“Whenever there is some incident on or off campus where students might agitate and make trouble, they try to buy off that trouble by creating more and larger DEI staff,” Greene said.

Taxpayers of Illinois aren’t sending their dollars to the U of I to provide patronage to campus radicals, he added.

“They are providing money to the University of Illinois to educate their kids, and not to indoctrinate their kids in radical ideology,” Greene said.

The authors of the report note that it is troubling that much of the programming that DEI personnel offer tends to lack diversity of viewpoints and may have the effect of dividing rather than including.

The authors said legislators should consider reducing and restructuring DEI staffs to achieve legitimate goals at substantially lower costs.

“The university’s access to the public treasury is dependent on the university sensibly using those resources,” Greene said.

The U of I received $628.5 million from state taxpayers in fiscal year 2021. The budget that begins July 1 sends the university nearly $650.2 million. All state universities combined get $1.15 billion from the budget that starts this summer.

Madison Police Oversight Board

Racial Quota Eliminated For Madison Police Oversight Board

(The Center Square) – More seats are open to more people on the Police Civilian Oversight Board in Madison, Wis.

The city’s common council on Tuesday night eliminated a racial quota from the board.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty said it looks forward to settling its lawsuit against Madison now that the Oversight Board ordinance has changed.

“The City of Madison has not identified a compelling government interest that would justify racial quotas. The Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection requires governments – at all levels – to treat citizens as individuals, not members of a group or racial class,” WILL wrote in a statement about the reversal.

WILL initially objected to the Police Civilian Oversight Board’s quotas back in January 2021, the group sued Madison over the Oversight Board in June of last year.

Gableman’s 2020 Election Investigation Election Investigation

Gableman’s 2020 Election Investigation Paused

(The Center Square) – The investigation into Wisconsin’s last vote for president is on hold.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Wednesday said he is pausing the investigation from former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman.

“We are pausing the investigation because it's not like we're going to keep looking into things we've already discovered," Vos told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Vos said he is placing the investigation on hold until a series of lawsuits are settled.

Judges in both Madison and Waukesha have yet to rule on the power that Gableman has, specifically whether he can subpoena witnesses and compel testimony. There are three other lawsuits dealing with open records requests in the case.

Democrats at the Wisconsin Capitol have called the investigation a partisan fishing expedition and a waste of taxpayer money.

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Return of ‘Normal’ Kentucky Derby Environs Yields Hefty Payday in Louisville

(The Center Square) – Thousands of racing fans flocked to Louisville over the weekend to celebrate the Kentucky Derby, and according to information from the city’s tourism bureau, Rich Strike wasn’t the only winner.

This year’s race marked the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started that Churchill Downs was allowed to hold the race without restrictions on attendance. Gov. Andy Beshear told reporters at the track Saturday there was “a special buzz” surrounding the Derby this year.

Churchill Downs officials announced 147,294 fans attended the Derby, and 100,188 fans attended Friday’s card highlighted by the Kentucky Oaks. That was about 9,000 fewer than the attendance for the 2019 Oaks and Derby race days, the last held under normal conditions.

The weather, which included storms Friday and cool, overcast skies Saturday, dampened crowds slightly. However, the event still attracted a long list of celebrities and other high-profile guests. Those in attendance Saturday included former President Donald Trump, whose super PAC held a $75,000-per-person event during the Derby, and current Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Despite attendance slightly lower than the last comparable year, Churchill Downs announced record wagering. The Derby itself generated a handle of $179 million, which was 8% better than the previous record set three years ago. Betting for the 14-race card on Saturday also set a record, with the $273.8 million topping the $250.9 million wagered in 2019.

The betting handle includes money bet at other tracks across the country and online through licensed wagering platforms, such as TwinSpires and TVG.

But the millions wagered at the track and spent on tickets weren’t the only dollars spent in the city and surrounding area. With thousands flocking to Louisville, the bars, restaurants, hotels and other venues saw significant traffic.

Rosanne Mastin, a spokeswoman for Louisville Tourism, told The Center Square that the estimated economic impact for the weekend was $366.8 million. That figure would easily exceed $400 million when considering other factors. That includes locals who avoid the track and celebrate at home with family, friends and other guests.

Colluded With Social Media

AGs Sue Biden Administration Over Claims It Colluded With Social Media Giants to Censor Speech

(The Center Square) – As states push back against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ plan to combat “disinformation,” two attorneys general sued him, President Joe Biden, and other top officials over claims they colluded with social media companies to censor speech.

The attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana Monroe Division. They sued Biden, former press secretary Jen Psaki, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Mayorkas, the new director of DHS’ “Disinformation Governance Board” Nina Jankowicz, and others.

The attorneys general say Biden and his officials colluded with big tech companies, including Meta, Twitter, and Youtube, to censor truthful information about a range of issues – including the coronavirus, election integrity and Hunter Biden’s laptop – under the guise of combating “misinformation.”

Biden and his officials “coerced, threatened, and pressured social-media platforms to censor disfavored speakers and viewpoints by using threats of adverse government action,” and are “now directly colluding with social-media platforms to censor disfavored speakers and viewpoints,” the AGs argue. Doing so violates the First Amendment, the Administrative Procedure Act, and exceeds statutory authority, the AGs argue. DHS creating a disinformation board also violates federal statutes, the complaint, filed Thursday, alleges.

“In direct contravention to the First Amendment and freedom of speech, the Biden Administration has been engaged in a pernicious campaign to both pressure social media giants to censor and suppress speech and work directly with those platforms to achieve that censorship in a misguided and Orwellian campaign against ‘misinformation,’” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said.

“Big Tech has become an extension of Biden’s Big Government, and neither are protecting the freedoms of Americans; rather, they are suppressing truth and demonizing those who think differently,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said. “Ripped from the playbook of Stalin and his ilk, Biden has been colluding with Big Tech to censor free speech and propagandize the masses. We are fighting back to ensure the rule of law and prevent the government from unconstitutional banning, chilling, and stifling of speech.”

They point to examples of then presidential candidate Biden seeking to have social media companies censor speech. In a Jan. 17, 2020, interview with the New York Times editorial board, Biden said Section 230 should be revoked because social-media companies weren’t doing enough to censor information. He also “suggested that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg should be subject to civil liability and even criminal prosecution for not censoring enough political speech,” the brief alleges.

It also points to examples of Psaki and Murthy stating in press briefings that Facebook and social media platforms should be doing more to combat health “misinformation.” Schmitt has been posting clips of their remarks on Twitter.

“We’re saying we expect more from our technology companies," Murthy said. …. We’re asking them to monitor misinformation more closely. We’re asking them to consistently take action against misinformation super-spreaders on their platforms,” the complaint points out.

Psaki also told reporters, “‘[W]e are in regular touch with these social media platforms, and those engagements typically happen through members of our senior staff, but also members of our COVID-19 team, given, as Dr. Murthy conveyed, this is a big issue of misinformation, specifically on the pandemic.’ She added, ‘We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.’”

Last February, in the wake of Spotify’s move to add advisory warnings to Joe Rogan’s podcast, Psaki said, “… we want every platform to continue doing more to call out … mis- and disinformation while also uplifting accurate information.”

The lawsuit also points to Facebook censoring posts after Fauci, “coordinating with others, orchestrated a campaign to discredit the lab-leak hypothesis in early 2020,” the complaint states. “At the same time as he was orchestrating a campaign to falsely discredit the lab-leak theory, Dr. Fauci was exchanging emails with Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, regarding the control and dissemination of COVID-19 information.”

Facebook has been partnering “with government experts, health authorities and researchers to take ‘aggressive action against misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines to protect public health,’” according to statements made by Facebook cited in the complaint.

The AGs point to Twitter’s policy of labeling and removing posts by anyone claiming face masks don’t prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and to Youtube censoring U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis after they questioned mask efficacy.

The lawsuit was filed after they joined 18 other AGs in demanding that Mayorkas immediately disband DHS’s disinformation board. Schmitt also expressed alarm about comments made by its new director.

She’s “called for more aggressive censorship of election-related speech by social-media platforms, and has implied that social-media censorship of election-related speech should never relent or be reduced,” he said.

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