Morning Headlines - Friday, Mar. 3, 2023

U.S. & World and Wisconsin trending headlines, and the meme of the day.

Morning Headlines - Friday, Mar. 3, 2023

U.S. and World Headlines

Credibility Crisis: NPR Insisted COVID Originated Naturally By Dismissing Lab Leak Theory As Nonsense

Taxpayer-funded NPR helped hoodwink the nation by dismissing the COVID lab leak theory in 2020 and pushing the mainstream narrative that assured the virus’ origins were natural.

The theory that COVID originated from a lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology has now been embraced by FBI Director Christopher Wray, and a bombshell report recently indicated that the U.S. Energy Department believes the virus likely started at the lab. But NPR, which is partially federally funded, rejected the theory with even more fervor than much of the mainstream media.

In April 2020, NPR ran pieces on back-to-back days dismissing the lab leak notion, painting it as a debunked conspiracy theory embraced by the right for political purposes.

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Legal Experts Say Fox News On Shaky Legal Ground In Dominion Lawsuit

Fox News and its parent company face serious threats to their financial and reputational health from a blockbuster defamation lawsuit tied to coverage of the 2020 election that legal experts believe has a solid chance of succeeding.

Dominion Voting Systems, which brought the $1.6 billion suit, is a voting technology provider that argues Fox News defamed it by knowingly repeating falsehoods from former President Trump and his aides and allies that Dominion’s services were used to fraudulently elect Joe Biden to the White House.

A slew of internal communications and depositions taken by Dominion as part of its discovery process has left many legal experts warning that Fox could be on shaky legal footing.

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Permanent Daylight Saving Time Bill Gets Renewed Push In Congress

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has reintroduced legislation to make daylight saving time permanent across the country, which he says would end the "antiquated practice" of changing clocks twice a year.

“This ritual of changing time twice a year is stupid. Locking the clock has overwhelming bipartisan and popular support. This Congress, I hope that we can finally get this done," Rubio said in a statement Thursday.

The bill, called the Sunshine Protection Act, passed the Senate last year by unanimous consent, meaning no senators opposed it. But it stalled in the House and expired at the end of the last session of Congress.

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Scoop: Trump's 5-Part Plan To Attack Desantis

Former President Trump is convinced his attacks on Ron DeSantis are chipping away at the Florida governor's support and confidence, sources and friends familiar with Trump's thinking say.

So Trump is planning to amp up the attacks and name-calling in the coming weeks.

Trump believes DeSantis is the only candidate who could last with him in a long, bitter campaign for the 2024 GOP nomination.

Trump hopes to scare DeSantis out of running, or at least damage him if he follows through on signs he will enter the race, top sources tell us.

Trump plans to target "Ron DeSanctimonious," as he delights in branding the governor, in five areas.

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The Perks Workers Want Also Make Them More Productive

Three years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote and hybrid work are as popular as ever. Only 6 percent of employees able to do their jobs remotely want to return to the office full time, according to a Gallup survey published in August. The vast majority of “remote-capable” worker want to spend at least some of their workdays at home. When they’re forced to return to an office, they’re more likely to become burned out and to express intent to leave, according to Gallup.

But that’s not all. The pandemic, combined with a strong labor market where workers have persistent power to demand the kinds of work cultures they want, means even more changes could be coming. After years of advocacy, many U.S. states are moving towards mandatory, paid family and sick leave for all workers. Meanwhile, companies are flirting with a four-day workweek in pilot programs worldwide, including in the U.S.

Policies like these have conventionally been seen as good for workers’ personal lives but bad for business.

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Wisconsin Headlines

UW System Will Ask Board Of Regents For 5% Tuition Increase In 2023-24 Academic Year

University of Wisconsin System students would face a 5% tuition increase next year under a plan the system’s president, Jay Rothman, unveiled March 2.

Rothman told the state Assembly’s universities committee that he will ask the Board of Regents at its April meeting to approve the increase for the 2023-24 academic year. If approved, the increase would mark the first time in a decade that tuition for in-state undergraduates has changed.

Rothman estimated that the tuition increase would raise about $38 million annually. Most of it would go to cover 4% system pay increases in each of the next two fiscal years, he said.

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Baraboo Man Sentenced To 6 Years For Methamphetamine Trafficking

Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Paul R. Ripp, 50, of Baraboo, Wisconsin was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to 6 years in prison for possessing more than 50 grams of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute it. Ripp pleaded guilty to this charge on December 8, 2022.

On March 28, 2022, Columbia County Sheriff’s deputies attempted to stop Ripp driving a truck near a hotel in Portage off the interstate highway, pursuant to an arrest warrant for state offenses. Ripp fled from officers in a high-speed chase that reached speeds of 100 miles per hour. Ripp avoided apprehension, then abandoned his truck and fled on foot.

The following day, Sauk County Sheriff’s deputies located Ripp at a hotel in Wisconsin Dells.  At the time Ripp was encountered and arrested by deputies outside the hotel, he was carrying a bag that contained multiple individually packaged bags of methamphetamine that totaled 111 grams of the drug. In the months prior to his arrest, Ripp was involved in multiple sales of methamphetamine in both Columbia and Sauk Counties.

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Capital Budget Would Offload 4 State Office Buildings

Gov. Tony Evers wants to offload four state office buildings as part of Wisconsin's next budget.

That includes three facilities in downtown Madison and another in Milwaukee.

The proposals, released this week in an update to the Department of Administration's Vision 2030 plan, are part of a push to consolidate and relocate staff as more state employees work remotely.

In all, officials say Wisconsin would save more than $500 million in deferred maintenance costs by offloading the buildings, and DOA Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld characterized the proposed moves as a "win-win for taxpayers and state workers."

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Barricade Of Private Roads On Lac Du Flambeau Tribal Lands Enters Second Month

A dispute over land rights between the Lac du Flambeau tribe and private landowners enters its second month.

WXPR in Rhinelander reports that four roads on tribal lands that lead to private homes remain blocked off. Those barricades went up at the end of January.

The tribe says that the easements for those roads expired over a decade ago and that the title companies in charge of the private homes on the reservation failed to bargain in good faith to renew them. They’re now asking for 20 million dollars in payments to reopen the roads.

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Vilas County Man Arrested For Possession Of Child Sexual Abuse Material

The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force today announced that Lucas D. Aschbrenner, age 45, was arrested in Arbor Vitae, Wis. on March 2, 2023, for one count of possession of child pornography. Mr. Aschbrenner is a fourth-grade math teacher at Minocqua-Hazelhurst-Lake Tomahawk Grade School.

On March 2, 2023, law enforcement executed a search warrant at the residence of Mr. Lucas Aschbrenner. The warrant was the result of a child sexual abuse material (CSAM) cyber tip originating at Aschbrenner’s home internet service. Mr. Aschbrenner was taken into custody at his home and transported to Vilas County Jail.

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Last Update: Mar 03, 2023 6:17 am CST

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