Waffle House Killer Was Stripped of Right to Own Firearms

It looks like law enforcement was on the ball. The dad needs to be prosecuted.

A suspect with mental health issues who allegedly killed four people in a Tennessee fast-food outlet on Sunday had been previously stripped of his right to own firearms and left a trail of red flags.

Questions are being asked about how Travis Reinking, 29, was apparently able to get his hands on the weapons.

Police said the AR-15 rifle he allegedly used in the attack at a Waffle House in a Nashville suburb had been confiscated from him just last year.

[…]

Secret Service officers detained him in July 2017 and charged him with unlawful entry after he crossed a security barrier.

He told Secret Service agents he “was a sovereign citizen and has a right to inspect the grounds” and that he wanted to meet President Donald Trump, according to a police report.

Following that arrest, authorities revoked Mr Reinking’s Firearm Owners’ Identification card.

They also confiscated four legally owned guns, including the AR-15 that was used in the Waffle House attack, police said on Sunday.

But authorities said the guns were returned to the suspect’s father, Jeffrey Reinking, after he asked to keep them.

Sheriff Robert Huston in Tazewell County, Illinois, told a news conference on Sunday the father had promised he would “keep the weapons secure and out of the possession of Travis”.

It was unclear how Travis Reinking apparently reclaimed the guns, said Sheriff Huston.

But Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said Jeffrey Reinking “has now acknowledged giving them back”.

Second Chances

Former governor Tommy Thompson penned an interesting piece last week that suggests that Wisconsin do a better job of training ex-cons to reenter the workforce.

Our prisons are full of people who want another chance to succeed.  Here’s how we can help create better parolees and in turn help our state address workforce shortages:

• Create a core criteria/survey/interview process to find those incarcerated individuals who have both the desire and will to succeed after prison.

• Develop a “Second Chance Skills Institute” that would deliver certified job and entrepreneurial tools along with necessary life skills training. Participation would require a signed contract and a “no mistakes,” immediate expulsion policy.  The program would have to be fully completed, similar to a skilled technical college degree.

• Work with state government, employers, business groups such as Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and trade unions both financially and for instructional and mentoring support.

• Convert an existing prison (or build a new one) to house the “Second Chance Skills Institute.” This secure hub would be part of the Department of Corrections, but fully supported by other state agency efforts including the Department of Workforce Development and the University of Wisconsin and technical college systems.

• Draw on technical schools, two-year colleges and social service organizations along with specifically-hired instructors.

• Develop a highly-structured early parole opportunity, with specific responsibilities and a “no mistake” clause for the most qualified graduates, in which a sponsor-business would provide a skills-specific job opportunity.

The end product, a highly-skilled and marketable job applicant best-equipped to enter the workforce and far-better equipped to reenter society. This high-quality program would create a highly marketable and sought after payroll-ready employee, permanently attached to an ongoing “Second Chance Skills Institute” support network.

There’s a lot of merit in some of these ideas. We need to have harsher penalties and less lenient judges when people violate the laws, but we also need to do a better job of reintegrating these folks back into the mainstream when they are released. The best way to keep people from committing further crimes is to get them integrated into the mainstream culture where criminal behavior is discouraged and where they have more to lose if they get put in prison again.

Waffle House Hero

He may not want to call himself a hero, but I will.

But the courageous patron, identified as James Shaw Jr., 29, refused to call himself a hero.

PHOTO: James Shaw Jr., 29, shows his hand that was injured when he disarmed a shooter inside an Antioch Waffle House, April 22, 2018 in Nashville, Tenn. (George Walker IV/The Tennessean via USA Today Network)
PHOTO: James Shaw Jr., 29, shows his hand that was injured when he disarmed a shooter inside an Antioch Waffle House, April 22, 2018 in Nashville, Tenn. (George Walker IV/The Tennessean via USA Today Network)

“I just knew it was me or him. It was that type of scenario,” Shaw said at a news conference Sunday afternoon. “So I chose to go with what I wanted to go with and it worked.”

Shaw said that when the gunfire broke, a bullet grazed his elbow as he ducked for cover near the restaurant’s restroom. He said that when he saw the gunman look down at his weapon apparently to reload, he made his move.

“It was at that time I kind of made up my mind … that if it was gonna come down to it, he was going to have to work to kill me,” Shaw said.

This is also yet another case that illustrates that the best and fastest way to end a mass shooting event is to meet force with force as soon as possible. Let’s hope they find the killer very soon and lock him away.

Bryan Steil Announced Run in 1st District

The road has been cleared for him on the Republican side, but this is going to be a bruising race.

JANESVILLE — Republican Bryan Steil announced on Sunday, April 22 that he’s running to replace House Speaker Paul Ryan in Congress, becoming the frontrunner in the GOP primary.

“I want to take our Wisconsin work ethic and my problem-solving experience to Washington’s nonstop crisis factory,” Steil told several dozen supporters gathered at Performance Micro Tool in Janesville.

Steil has been a member of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents since 2016. He is a lawyer. Steil has been a longtime friend and former aide to Ryan.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Boston Store closing in West Bend

There were more than 10 people waiting outside Wednesday morning at Boston Store in West Bend as the clerk opened the door for shoppers. Word had already spread that the store at 1291 W. Paradise Drive was among the hundreds closing and going out of business.

“I guess I wasn’t surprised,” said Marie Selenka of Slinger.  “We lost Pier One and now we’re losing this and it’s a shame.”

There were quite a few shoppers combing the store and taking advantage of sales and many mentioned they felt it was ‘only a matter of time.’ “I have mixed emotions because I thought the quality of merchandise had been going down,” said Debbie R. from Richfield.

“I don’t think the buyers have my age group (60) in mind and they always have these coupons and most of the time they’re not good for the item you purchase so it doesn’t surprise me with the competition out there.”

Debbie said she grew up with Boston Store. “My first Boston Store was Capitol Court in Milwaukee. We would go to The Grand and my mother used to work at Schusters in Milwaukee.”

“So many people buy online now. I still like the brick and mortar stores so the new generation is different,” Debbie said. “We’re from the Waupun area and they’re all closing,” said Kathy F.

“I like the Boston Store and I don’t like that they’re closing but what are you going to do,” she said.  “I’m actually kind of torn because I do a lot of online shopping because it’s convenient and I understand it’s hard for stores to stay open.”

According to a news release Bon-Ton President and CEO Bill Tracy said, “While we are disappointed by this outcome and tried very hard to identify bidders interested in operating the business as a going concern, we are committed to working constructively with the winning bidder to ensure an orderly wind-down of operations that minimizes the impact of this development on our associates, customers, vendors and the communities we serve.”

Officials said “the Great American Group LLC and Tiger Capital Group LLC will acquire the inventory and certain other assets of the department store chain.”

In West Bend, a sale related to the liquidation is underway. Sources said about 50 employees at Boston Store in West Bend will be out of work because of the closure. More details regarding the store closure and liquidation plans will be released shortly.

Reuters news service has been reporting “another retailer might acquire some of the stores and operate them under one of the Bon-Ton names.”

Former Washington Co. Supervisor Jack German has died

John George (Jack) German left Serenity Villa and made the trip to heaven be with his wife La Rae of 63 years on April 20, 2018. Jack had suffered a stroke in February as a result of a broken heart.

He was born to George Anton German V and Katherine Ann Ruddy on June 4. 1930 in Saint Killian, Wisconsin. The Family moved to West Bend and Jack attended Holy Angeles School and West Bend High School. Jack joined the Naval Reserve then enlisted in the U.S. Army at seventeen and served with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Benning Georgia. After his active duty he served an additional six years in the Army Reserve and rose to the rank of Master Sargent.

Jack worked first as a mechanic and then in automobile sales in West Bend for several dealerships working last at Tennis Buick. Cooking was his passion and he spent most of his free time cooking for his friends. In 1972 his long-time dream of his own restaurant came to be when he and La Rae purchased the Little Red Inn in Saint Lawrence. They operated this iconic landmark until they retired.

Jacks life was one of public service and commitment. He served as a part time Deputy Sheriff with the Washington County Sheriffs Department and was elected constable and board supervisor for the Town of Addison. In 1978 he was elected to the Washington County Board of Supervisors, serving for a time as the Vice-Chairman and remained on the board until 2004.

Jack was an Honorary (Life) member of the Allenton Volunteer Fire Department, American Legion Allenton Fohl-Martin Post 483 and Saint Francis Cabrini Church. Past Member of Slinger-Allenton Rotary, Allenton Sportsman Club, Resurrection Parish, Wisconsin Restaurant Association, Washington County Tavern League and Allenton Area Advancement Association. He was one of the founders of the Allenton Area Advancement Association’s Buffalo Feed.

On June 28, 1952 Jack Married (Margarete) La Rae Umbs at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Allenton. They spent most of their married lives in Allenton and in retirement years also enjoyed spending time in Eagle River and Arizona. La Rae was called home to our Lord Savior Jesus Christ on January 9, 2016.

A memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Apr. 24, at Resurrection Catholic Church with the Rev. Richard Stoffel presiding. Burial will be at a later date in Sacred Heart Cemetery. The family will greet relatives and friends from 1 p.m.-3:45 p.m. Tuesday at the church. The family has requested memorials to Resurrection Catholic Parish or St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Parish.

Deer Management Committee makes venison donation to WB Food Pantry

The first of several donations of venison were dropped off Monday, April 16 at the Food Pantry in West Bend. Dist. 1 alderman John Butschlick said there will be 35 pounds of ground venison donated. The meat comes from the three deer killed during the Deer Management Hunt last December.

Prior to the hunt it was determined the cost to process the deer would be covered by the DNR. The meat was processed by Loehr’s Meat Service in Campbellsport. There were three deer killed during the Deer Management Hunt.

On Monday night during the West Bend Common Council meeting alderman Butschlick gave an update on the future of the hunt. He said sharpshooters have been discussed and a combined effort with bow hunters may be the next step. The cost of sharpshooters was discussed during a March meeting of the Deer Management Committee.

Tribute to outgoing aldermen Dist. 3 Mike Chevalier and Dist. 7 Adam Williquette

The West Bend Common Council tipped its hat to a pair of longstanding aldermen on Monday night as they participated in their final meetings.

Mayor Kraig Sadownikow read resolutions honoring Dist. 3 alderman Mike Chevalier and Dist. 7 alderman Adam Williquette. Sadownikow recognized Chevalier for “devoting a substantial portion of his time for the betterment and enrichment of” West Bend.

Alderman Williquette was recognized for representing his constituents in the City of West Bend and Barton for six years. “Both of these two guys really exemplify the old phrase that says if you have the ability to make a positive impact then you have the responsibility to make a positive impact,” said Sadownikow.

Newly-elected alderman Andrew Chevalier and Justice Madl were sworn into office on Tuesday, April 17.

City of West Bend secures $555K grant for Riverwalk

Some positive news for neighbors in the City of West Bend as word came down that the State Joint Finance Committee approved a grant for $555,000 to help finance the downtown Riverwalk Project. The note below was sent to city staff from Park and Rec Director Craig Hoeppner.

Good afternoon, I’m pleased to report the State Joint Finance Committee officially approved our DNR Stewardship Grant in the amount of $555K+ at 1:03 p.m. Wednesday.

There had been a lot of discussion with the State on this topic over the past three weeks.

This is a $100,000 reduction from what was tentatively awarded, but we are confident the project is financially sound and this keeps the Downtown Riverwalk – East Project on track for our expected 2018 construction schedule.

A big thank you to the Mayor, Jay Shambeau, Cindy Leinss and  Sen. Duey Strobel for all of their efforts in making this large DNR Stewardship grant a reality.   We are looking forward to a great project this summer.  Park and Rec Director Craig Hoeppner

Mayor Kraig Sadownikow watched the process as the proposal went before State Joint Finance Committee in Madison and cheered the 11-4 vote to award the grant. “This is the final piece of the funding puzzle,” said Sadownikow. “I’m thankful to Sen. Strobel for supporting this project through the Joint Finance Committee. Everyone on the Joint Finance Committee recognized that we’ve got a very unique funding mechanism with some local dollars, some state dollars and then a very significant portion of locally, privately-raised money and that doesn’t happen very often in a public works project like this so it’s great West Bend stepped up to support something that’s been needed for decades.”

Signs posted for Eaton’s Fresh Pizza in West Bend

The sign for Eaton’s Fresh Pizza now graces the front door at 830 E. Paradise Drive in West Bend. Looking through the windows of the new home for the franchise shows the plumbing has been put in place and while there wasn’t much activity there is some progress as the build out is underway. In February, WashingtonCountyInsider.com announced Eaton’s Pizza would be returning to West Bend. The franchise owner is coming in from Fond du Lac. According to the owner Eaton’s Fresh Pizza will be located in the same strip mall anchored by Thrivent Financial. There’s a target opening date of July 1. The store will employ about 10 people.

Holy Angels students make generous donation                               By Renee Altendorf

This past Lent the primary students at Holy Angels School participated in a prayer walk.  After every 10 steps each student stopped to think about a person and then say a prayer for them. Each student walked 100 steps and said 10 prayers for a total of 9,800 steps and 980 prayers. The goal was for each student to have their family donate $1 or a penny per step.  The primary teachers are proud to announce students surpassed their goal and raised $1,422 for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County.

Saturday lineup announced for Washington County Fair

Washington County Fair officials are pleased to announce the Saturday 2018 Headliners at the West Bend Mutual Insurance Silver Lining Amphitheater.

The Washington County Fair will host a trio of country artists on Saturday, July 28- Walker Hayes with Carly Pearce and Ryan Kinder.

Kicking off the night will be Ryan Kinder. For Alabama native Ryan Kinder, it’s all about the music. Whether he dons his favorite boots or rocks his vintage Chuck Taylors when he takes the stage, the music is what demands audiences’ attention and defines this up-and-coming sensation with a soulful Southern sound. “I just let the music do the talking,” says Kinder. Ryan’s debut single “Kiss Me When I’m Down,” where his powerful vocal is rivaled only by his amazing guitar playing, is turning heads and blowing minds. This young up-and-comer is poised for a soaring music career that will keep him on the road, in the spotlight and on the radio.

Carly Pearce takes the stage next. Her first single, “If My Name was Whiskey,” has been a listener favorite on Sirius XM’s The Highway over the last year, was named one of Rolling Stones’ “10 Artists to Watch This Summer” and became one of CMT’s “Next Women of Country” in 2016.

Headlining the evening will be Walker Hayes, a tried-and-true Nashville standout. He’s an original in a town all-too-often rife with mimicry and compromise.   “

Ticket prices range from $20-$35 and include admission to the Fair. For more information on the Washington County Fair, visit www.wcfairpark.com/fair

Successful Grandparents Day at St. Peter School in Slinger

The grandkids wore out their grandparents at St. Peter School in Slinger on Wednesday. It was Grandparents Day and the kids were in charge.

The day started with an all-school Mass and then the students grabbed their grandparents’ hand and participated in a day full of fun. Some of the activities included coloring plates. Others took part in a competitive game of BINGO and then there was the dancing. (see video).

A couple of the families were third generation at St. Peter School including the Richard Kratz who graduated from St. Peter in 1968. His children then attended St. Peter and now his grandchildren are enrolled. Ann Kratz said she felt the kids “get a better education than in the public school, the children are able to grow their faith and the teachers are committed to working with each child, even those who need more attention in reading and math.”

5K teacher Beth Herrigas said over 240 people participated in Grandparents Day and all had a fantastic time celebrating the great opportunities in education offered at a private school.

Updates & tidbits

– A bunch of rock stars from Mr. Olson’s class are working to promote their 2nd annual Autism Soup Night on April 23 at the West Bend West High School cafeteria. Soup will be served 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. There are 16 soups to choose from.

-Dennis Degenhardt is scheduled to announce his candidacy for the 58th Assembly District on April 26. There is a Partisan Primary on Tuesday, Aug. 14 and the General Election is Tuesday, Nov. 6. During the last Special Election, Rep. Rick Gundrum won the seat left vacant following the death of Rep. Bob Gannon. Rep. Gundrum is currently serving a 1-year term.

– S/Sgt. Henry F. Gumm Post 486, Jackson, donates $3,000 for the purchase of three pieces of handicap-friendly playground equipment. This is part of a $300,000 project across from the Jackson Community Center at Hickory Lane Inclusive Playground.

– Mai Fest is coming to Friedenfeld Park in Germantown on May 18, 19 and 20. There will be fantastic beers, fabulous music and dancing and good old-fashioned fun. There will be food from Schwai’s Fish Friday (Friday night only), Germantown Kiwanis Club, Brats, Frankfurters, Hamburgers, and Potato Pancakes. Come enjoy the fun.

-The Downtown West Bend Association is gearing up for the 6th annual Banner ArtWalk. Fifty hand-painted banners will be on display at the Museum of Wisconsin Art on Saturday, May 12.

– The 31st annual Washington County Breakfast on the Farm is at Gehring View Farms this year, 4630 Highway 83 in Hartford. The host family will be Eugene and Christine Gehring and their family Derik, Jordan and Emily. This year’s Breakfast will be Saturday, June 9, rain or shine.

-American Legion Post 36 of West Bend will hold a brat fry Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 11, 12 and 13 at the corner of Washington Street and 15th Avenue in West Bend. Hours are 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

– Holy Angels Students of the Month for March include Olivia Klausmeier, Emily Rauch and Will Mueller.

Run for Logan set for May 26 at Hartford High School

Logan Johnson was a healthy 8-year-old boy when he was diagnosed with an illness called Myocarditis (Inflammation of the heart) which doctors believe was caused by Parvovirus B-19 (known as 5th disease).

The nightmare began on May 6, 2017. Logan played a soccer game that morning. He had been sick with a low-grade fever the day before and seemed to be feeling better, but the game wore him out and the fever returned.

Later that day, he complained of pain in his chest and abdomen. He collapsed at home and was taken by ambulance to Children’s Hospital. After many hours and extensive tests, ultrasounds, and lab work – he was diagnosed with Myocarditis. He was placed on life support to try to save him. After three excruciating weeks in the hospital, Logan went to heaven and is now safe in the arms of Jesus.

Two days prior to becoming ill Logan asked his mom what his purpose was and why God made him. Little did this 8 year old know that his story and journey would touch so many lives and bring people closer to their faith in God.

Logan’s family is hoping that through “Logan’s Laps for Love” event money raised will help Children’s Hospital to find out more about Myocarditis, ways to prevent and treat the illness, and maybe someday soon no other family will have to endure the loss of loved one from this disease.

The event begins at 9 a.m. on May 26 at Hartford High School track. All money raised will go to the Love for Logan Fund at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

North Korea Halts Missile Tests

I don’t trust Kim at all, but this is the most progress we’ve seen in many, many years…. like… ever.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said he will suspend all missile tests and shut down a nuclear test site with immediate effect.

“From 21 April, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles,” the Korean Central News Agency said.

The decision is aimed at pursuing economic growth and peace on the Korean peninsular, state media report.

Mr Kim is due to meet his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in next week.

He is also expected to hold an unprecedented summit with US President Donald Trump by June. If it takes place, it will be the first meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.

[…]

A spokesperson for the South Korean president called the North’s move “meaningful progress”.

Complaint Against Gender-Neutral Bathrooms Tossed

Heh.

In January, Mary Jo Walters, far-left activist and independent candidate for U.S. Senate (because ultra-liberal Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, could use the competition), filed a discrimination complaint against the Rape Crisis Center in Madison. 

Walters’ liberal resume includes Wisconsin Capitol “occupier” during the left’s 2011 protests over Gov. Scott Walker’s public sector collective-bargaining reforms, a Democrat candidate for Wisconsin lieutenant governor in 2014, a grassroots activist in the campaign to legalize cannabis, and a self-described advocate of social justice issues.

Her allegation: That a November #MeTooMadison fundraiser for the Crisis Center, in an attempt to make all event-goers feel welcome, established “Gender-Neutral” bathrooms, according to documents obtained by MacIver News Service. 

The event, held at downtown Madison’s Majestic Theatre, featured the stories of sexual assault victims – in the spirit of the national #MeToo campaign to bring awareness and support to survivors of sexual violence. 

Walter’s complaint was eventually dismissed for lack of probable cause.

In her original complaint, filed with Madison’s Department of Civil Rights and the Madison Equal Opportunities Commission, Walters wrote that having to use a gender-neutral bathroom was “upsetting emotionally, seeing it was at a rape event.” 

Walters’ criticism seems obvious, but perhaps we shouldn’t assume the gender of a potential rapist.

No Blue Wave?

Washington County Republican Party Chairman Jim Geldreich makes a compelling case in the Washington County Daily News for why the Blue Wave might break on Wisconsin.

To a certain extent, it is customary for the minority party to gain seats during off-year elections. The media in its frenzy to mock and ridicule the Republican Party has created the catch phrase, “Blue Wave,” which theoretically means they’re hoping Republicans are swept out of office in 2018.

Before everyone blindly starts jumping on this “Blue Wave” bandwagon, let’s all pause, take a deep breath and give this some careful thought. In Wisconsin, just exactly what would be the upside to removing Republicans and replacing them with Democrats? Only those with short memories have forgotten what it was like before 2010 under former Democrat Gov. Jim Doyle.

Here’s a brief refresher: Wisconsin had a $3.6 billion budget shortfall, a 9.3 percent unemployment rate, a hostile business environment, higher property taxes and double-digit tuition increases. Remember that? There’s no conceivable reason to revert back to these days by pushing a blue wave upon the state.

Since Gov. Scott Walker was sworn in back in 2011, and with the support of the Republican Legislature, the state of Wisconsin has been positively moving forward. Because there have been so many positive changes in Wisconsin, it may be very easy to become apathetic. Walker and the Republicans have systematically put Wisconsin back on the correct path with the conservative reforms that generated the strong state economy we now enjoy.

Wisconsin has a much more friendly business climate under Republican leadership. We have climbed from the bottom 10 for business to the top 10. Simultaneously, the unemployment rate has fallen from 9.3 percent to the current alltime low of 2.9 percent. Wage growth in Wisconsin is now ninth best in the country. Walker and the Republicans, along with President Donald Trump, brokered the landmark Foxconn Technology Group deal, surpassing 10 competing states.

Judging by the appalling lack of support for Foxconnfrom the Democrats, I can confidently say a

“Blue Wave” would result in the stagnation of this epic project. If you keep your old property tax bills, I would suggest comparing your 2010 property tax bill with your 2017 property tax bill. It is likely 15-20 percent lower now. That translates to more money in the hands of the people who earn it, year after year after year. In fact, the overall tax burden in Wisconsin will have been lowered by $8 billion by the end of 2018 thanks to Walker’s conservative reforms.

A blue wave is almost certain to increase fees and income taxes, and likely bump your property tax bill back up to those prior levels or higher. Tuition at UW schools has been frozen for six straight years now, making higher education more affordable for Wisconsin families. A “Blue Wave” will assuredly bring back the Doyle-era tuition increases.

As a veteran, I’ve seen Walker restore the GI Bill, expand employment opportunities for veterans and open a new veteran’s home in northwest Wisconsin. A “Blue Wave” will bring further disregard for military veterans from the likes of Tammy Baldwin and Madison-area leftists.

In summary, Walker and the Republican Legislature have put forth a solid record of positive accomplishments for Wisconsin. This record is the envy of other states who are currently buried in debt and suffering economic malaise. If anyone is interested in a preview of what a blue wave will bring to Wisconsin, we need look no further than across the border in Illinois. The difference is clear. Wisconsin became a red state in the past decade because residents were fatigued with leftist policies.

A “Blue Wave”? Not so fast.

Asperger Sent Kids to their Deaths

I expect they’ll be renaming that syndrome fairly soon.

Newly uncovered documents suggest Hans Asperger, the paediatrician whose name describes a form of autism, was actively involved in the Nazi regime’s euthanasia programme in Austria.

The evidence comes from previously unexamined Nazi-era documents and patient records.

They suggest Dr Asperger ingratiated himself by referring children to a notorious euthanasia clinic.

Prof Asperger claimed to have shielded his patients from the Nazi regime.

The patient records and documents show that Dr Asperger sent patients to the Am Spiegelgrund clinic in Vienna, where they were put to death.

North Korea Drops Precondition for Denuclearization

Wow. That’s huge.

(CNN)North Korea has dropped its long-held demand that the United States withdraw forces from South Korea in exchange for denuclearization, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday.

The United States has about 28,000 troops stationed in South Korea, a presence that has long irked North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
However, in the burgeoning spirit of openness and diplomacy, Moon said Kim is willing to give up US troops’ removal as a precondition for discussions over denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
“North Korea has expressed willingness to give up its nuclear program without making (a) demand that the (US Forces Korea) forces withdraw from the Korean Peninsula,” Moon said in a meeting with the press, adding that any proposed troop withdrawal would be a “condition that the US cannot accept.”

The Revolution Continues in Cuba

Totalitarianism continues.

Miguel Díaz-Canel has been sworn in as Cuba’s new president, replacing Raúl Castro who took over from his ailing brother Fidel in 2006.

It is the first time since the revolution in 1959 that a Castro is not at the helm of the government.

Mr Díaz-Canel had been serving as first vice-president for the past five years.

Even though Mr Díaz-Canel was born after the revolution, he is a staunch ally of Raúl Castro and is not expected to make any radical changes.

There was “no room in Cuba for those who strive for the restoration of capitalism” he said in his inaugural address.

Liberal Talk Show Host Enters Race

The clown car of a Democratic primary is overflowing!

MADISON – Liberal broadcaster Mike Crute announced a run for governor Tuesday, becoming the latest Democrat to join that crowded primary and seek to take on GOP Gov. Scott Walker.

Since 2012, Crute has been one half of the Devil’s Advocates radio show along with his friend Dominic Salvia, and in 2017 Crute purchased WRRD-AM (1510) in Waukesha and has been running it as a liberal talk radio station.

Crute said he is stepping into the race for governor after months of frustration watching other Democratic candidates.

A bid for governor could be a ratings boost for Crute’s radio business, but he said he believes his broadcast platform gives him at least a chance at beating the fragmented Democratic field.

Honestly, my first reaction to this story was, “huh… there’s liberal talk radio in Waukesha?” I suspect that was the hoped for reaction from Crute. This is great free advertising for his station.

And if he’s smart, his campaign slogan will be, “I am Crute.” I would love to see an entire interview where all he says is, “I am Crute.”

Oklahoma City Bombing – 23 Years Later

A couple of years ago I found myself in Oklahoma City on this date and spent a few hours at the memorial. Since it was an anniversary, the place was fairly busy. There were several families spending some time with each other remembering their loved one who died that day. At times, I felt like I was intruding on their grief. Even though it was over 20 years ago, the pain and hurt is still very, very real for a great many people. Please take a moment today to remember those who were killed for the simple act of going to work and living their lives.

 

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Antisemitic Attack in Germany Caught on Video

Germany has spent generations atoning for the sins of the Holocaust just to import a fresh batch of anti-Semites.

German police are investigating an assault on two young men in Berlin, in which the attacker was filmed shouting anti-Semitic abuse.

The men say they were harassed in the Prenzlauer Berg area on Monday while wearing Jewish skullcaps (kippahs).

A video of the incident, which was later shared on Facebook, shows the attacker hitting the men with his belt.

He is heard shouting “Yahudi”, an Arabic word for Jew, before being dragged away by another man.

One of the victims, a 21-year-old Israeli called Adam, then reportedly followed the attacker but gave up after a glass bottle was thrown at him.

Tom Barrett Considers Running for Governor

I suspect that this is just the result of liberal journalists sitting around bemoaning the weak field of Democrats already running, but I would LOVE to see Barrett run again.

Mayor Tom Barrett weighs another bid for governorDaniel Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes: “He has more than $600,000 in his campaign account. The competition is weak and frayed. And the job is one he has long coveted. Yep, Mayor Tom Barrett is thinking about running for governor. For a fourth time. Sources confirmed this week that the fourth-term mayor has been sounding out his team of advisers about entering the Democratic primary for governor later this year.

If Barrett enters, he would likely become the immediate favorite in the Democratic field. It would be a bruising primary battle between the Mayors of Madison and Milwaukee with Tony Evers tag-teaming in for both sides.

Pompeo Meets with Kim Jong-un

I still give the prospect of a permanent agreement a probability of about 10% – mainly because Kim is crazy – but this is the most significant diplomatic engagement with North Korea since Clinton gave them nukes.

CIA director Mike Pompeo travelled to Pyongyang for a secret meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, US President Donald Trump has confirmed.

A “good relationship” was formed at the meeting last week, Mr Trump tweeted on Wednesday.

News of the visit first emerged on Tuesday. US officials were quoted as saying the aim was to prepare a summit between Mr Trump and Mr Kim.

Mr Trump had earlier alluded to high-level direct talks with Pyongyang.

But the unexpected and clandestine meeting marks the highest level US contact with North Korea since 2000.

Barbara Bush Goes to Her Glory

RIP to a truly classy wife, mother, and woman. She’s an example to us all. May her family rejoice in her well-lived life and the joys of her eternity.

(CNN)Barbara Bush, the matriarch of a Republican political dynasty and a first lady who elevated the cause of literacy, died Tuesday, according to a statement from her husband’s office. She was 92.

Only the second woman in American history to have had a husband and a son elected President (Abigail Adams was the first), Bush was seen as a plainspoken public figure who was instantly recognizable with her signature white hair and pearl necklaces and earrings. She became a major political figure as her husband, George H.W. Bush, rose to become vice president and president. After they left the White House, she was a potent spokeswoman for two of her sons — George W. and Jeb — as they campaigned for office.
The mother of six children — one of whom, a daughter, Robin, died as a child from leukemia — Barbara Bush raised her fast-growing family in the 1950s and ’60s amid the post-war boom of Texas and the whirl of politics that consumed her husband.
She was at his side during his nearly 30-year political career. He was a US representative for Texas, UN ambassador, Republican Party chairman, ambassador to China and CIA director. He then became Ronald Reagan’s vice president for two terms and won election to the White House in 1988. He left office in 1993 after losing a re-election bid to Bill Clinton.
Quick-witted with a sharp tongue, the feisty Barbara Bush was a fierce defender of her husband and an astute adviser.

Study: Private Schools Outperform Public Schools in Wisconsin

Here’s an interesting study from WILL:

April 17, 2018 – Milwaukee, WI – The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) released its second annual report comparing school academic performance across Wisconsin, Apples to Apples.  In this new peer-reviewed study, control variables—such as student economic status and demographics—are included to level the playing field and make the clearest possible comparisons between schools for policymakers and parents.

Also included for the first time is WILL’s Performance Ranking, which ranks the performance of every K-12 school in the state from all sectors while controlling for socio-economic status.  The searchable database is available here: http://www.will-law.org/school-search/.

Some of the findings include:

  • Private schools in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) outperform Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). Students in the MPCP were about 4 percentage points more likely to score proficient or above in mathematics and 5 percentage points more likely to score proficient or above in reading.

    • This performance advantage is driven by Catholic and Lutheran private schools.
  • Both independent and non-instrumentality charters have higher proficiency rates than MPS.  Students in non-instrumentality charter schools were about 12 percentage points more likely to be proficient in reading and 15 percentage points more likely to be proficient in math than traditional public school students.  Independent charter school students were about 5 percentage points more likely to be proficient in reading and 8 percentage points in math.

  • Statewide, schools in the state’s voucher programs outperform traditional public schools in reading. No differences were found in math.  This is the first time a positive association has been found between choice programs overall in Wisconsin and academic outcomes.

  • Rural and small town schools perform worse than urban schools. Rural schools have significantly lower performance on the Forward Exam in both math and reading than urban schools.

    • Suburban schools outperform rural, small town, and urban schools

Paul Ryan returns to private life

My column for the Washington County Daily News. It’s a look back at Paul Ryan’s career (so far) and his impact on Wisconsin and the nation. It gets lost in the heat of the current political season, but Ryan was the first Speaker from Wisconsin and is legitimately a historical figure. Here you go:

The news did not come as a surprise, but it was still a shock. Rep. Paul Ryan has decided against seeking re-election this year. It will be the first time in 20 years he will not be on the ballot. The reverberations of Ryan’s remarkable career will be felt in Wisconsin and the nation for generations. And at only 48 years old, he may not be done yet.

Ryan entered politics as soon as he graduated with a degree in economics from Miami University in Ohio as an aide to Sen. Robert Kasten in 1992. He served in various supportive roles for powerful Republicans, including as a speechwriter for Jack Kemp, who Ryan considered an influential mentor.

Ryan got his turn to run for office in 1998 when Rep. Mark Neumann decided to run for the U.S. Senate. Ryan won the 1st Congressional District by a convincing 14-point margin and had firmly held the seat since.

Ryan quickly established a reputation as a sincere, intelligent, articulate, consistent advocate for his core conservative beliefs. During his 20 years in Congress, whether in the minority or the majority, he was always pushing to reform the fundamental structures that continue to undermine our nation’s potential — rampant entitlement spending and a byzantine tax system.

It is the nature of American politics that nobody completely gets what they want. Our system of competing interests and balanced power ensures that the only way to accomplish anything is through compromise. Some of Ryan’s detractors criticize that he was unable to fully accomplish his oft stated ideals of reforming and restraining the federal government, but it is precisely Ryan’s ability to compromise without capitulating that led to any accomplishments at all. There are plenty of bomb-throwing ideologues in Congress. We fellow ideologues love them, but they are rarely effective in moving policy. Ryan’s style actually moved the ball forward.

Ryan’s signature and crowning accomplishment came when he was serving in a role he never wanted and under an unlikely Republican President. Ryan never wanted to be Speaker Ryan because he is, at his heart, a policy wonk. The job of Speaker is to cajole the caucus to move legislation written by other people. Ryan wants to write the legislation. Ryan answered the call of the Republican caucus in their time of crisis because sometimes duty and loyalty trump personal ambitions.

The landmark 2017 Tax Reform Law marked a transformational shift in the tax code that will be felt for generations. It is a signature achievement that has Ryan’s years of effort baked into its very core. Americans will benefit from this achievement long after they have forgotten how it came to be. As Speaker, Ryan also wrestled passage of many reforms including the repeal of Obamacare and entitlement reform. Unfortunately, too many of those legislative efforts found their graves in the stodgy, dysfunctional Senate, but Ryan did his job and did it well.

Throughout his tenure as representative, committee chairman, vice presidential candidate and Speaker, Ryan also justifiably maintained a reputation as a genuinely nice guy. He had a style in which he was able to aggressively debate and advocate policies without the personal hatred and animosity that infects too many other politicians. In this respect, perhaps he is too much of a throwback to a different era of politics in which his mentors lived. The ability to disagree without being disagreeable is becoming a rare gift in the modern era.

As the first Wisconsinite to serve as the Speaker of the House, Ryan stands unique in Wisconsin’s pantheon of political giants. He has certainly earned the right to slip into obscurity and indulge in the enjoyments of private life. As for me, I know that there comes a time on the horizon when the people of Wisconsin will call again for his leadership, and I pray that he will answer the call.

Until then, thank you, Speaker Ryan, for serving the citizens of Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District and our nation.

Russia Launches Counterattack

From their keyboards.

(Reuters) – The United States and Britain on Monday accused Russia of launching cyber attacks on computer routers, firewalls and other networking equipment used by government agencies, businesses and critical infrastructure operators around the globe.

Washington and London issued a joint alert saying the campaign by Russian government-backed hackers was intended to advance spying, intellectual property theft and other “malicious” activities and could be escalated to launch offensive attacks.

It followed a series of warnings by Western governments that Moscow is behind a string of cyber attacks. The United States, Britain and other nations in February accused Russia of releasing the “NotPetya” virus, which in 2017 crippled parts of Ukraine’s infrastructure and damaged computers across the globe, costing companies billions of dollars.

The Kremlin did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But Russia’s embassy in London issued a statement citing British accusations of cyber threats from Moscow as “striking examples of a reckless, provocative and unfounded policy against Russia.”