Morning Headlines - Monday, May 15, 2023

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

Morning Headlines - Monday, May 15, 2023

U.S. and World Headlines

ChatGPT Ceo Heads To Congress As Lawmakers Face AI Explosion

The CEO of the company behind ChatGPT will head to Congress next week as lawmakers’ race to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) and more companies steam ahead with the technology.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman will make his public debut in Congress at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing about oversight of AI as lawmakers seek to better understand the range of risks posed by generative AI and possible ways to mitigate them.

“AI is one of the most important issues of our times, with enormous potential both positive and negative, and it is crucial that we get it right,” Gary Marcus, professor emeritus at New York University, said in an email.

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Whistleblower Reported Mormon Church To IRS

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its investment arm, Ensign Peak Advisors, were fined $5 million in February for using shell companies to hide the size of a $32 billion equity portfolio, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. A former Ensign Peak portfolio manager blew the whistle on the fund to the IRS in 2019, after working at the firm for nine years.

He alleged that the church had accumulated $100 billion in assets and, instead of spending the money on good works, used the money to bail out business with church ties. He claimed that the church violated its religious tax exemption status.

Church leaders have denied the allegations.

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As Debt Default Looms, America Yawns

A mass shooting in Allen, Texas, and another in Cleveland, Texas. The first-ever indictment of a former president, followed by a sex abuse verdict, followed by the indictment of a sitting congressman. Fighter jets shooting down UFOs over North America. War in Ukraine. Threats of war in Asia. A flood of migrants crossing the southern border. Actual floods in California.

And now a new calamity. A nation that has been deluged with head-spinning news day after day is faced with a budgetary impasse that could set off a recession or worse.

A divided Congress has only about three weeks to raise the country's borrowing limit and thereby keep America from defaulting on its debts. Default has never happened before and could push the U.S. and global economy into harrowing territory, economists say. But for many Americans, that scenario remains an abstraction far removed from day-to-day concerns. And there are signs that a crisis-weary population wants to sit this one out.

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How The Supreme Court Might View The Debt Limit Fight

If Joe Biden and House Republicans fail to reach a debt deal, the crisis could get tossed to the Supreme Court — where it would scramble the usual priorities of the court’s conservatives.

The court’s current approach to most cases is overwhelmingly pro-market and business-friendly. The justices would be wary of stoking economic calamity.

At the same time, the conservative majority has been highly skeptical of Biden’s attempts to harness executive power and bypass Congress. If he invoked the 14th Amendment to avoid a default — an option the White House is weighing — it would be just the sort of unprecedented power grab that the conservative justices have condemned in other areas of Biden’s economic platform.

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Brace Yourselves, Travelers: This Summer Could Be ‘One For The Record Books’

Memorial Day weekend – the unofficial start of the summer travel season in the United States – is shaping up to be busy. At airports, it’s likely to be busier than it was in 2019 pre-pandemic, according to the AAA travel forecast released Monday.

The automotive and trip-planning group expects 42.3 million Americans to travel 50 miles or more from home over the holiday weekend. That’s a 7% increase over 2022 or 2.7 million more people. And the group says that’s a sign of what travelers should expect this summer.

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Wisconsin Headlines

Funeral For Slain Wisconsin Sheriff's Deputy Draws 3,000 Mourners

Some 1,500 law enforcement officers from several states were among 3,000 mourners paying final respects Friday to a Wisconsin sheriff’s deputy who was fatally shot by a suspected drunken driver during a traffic stop.

The funeral for St. Croix County Sheriff’s Deputy Kaitlin “Kaitie” R. Leising was held in the gymnasium of Hudson High School while a montage of photos from her life were shown on a large screen overhead. Leising's family, including her wife, Courtney, and their 3-month-old son, Syler, stood to the side of the casket, hugging visitors.

In less than a year with the sheriff's office, Leising earned commendations and the admiration of her colleagues, Sheriff Scott Knudson said.

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Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra Performs Final Concert Of Season

A year’s worth of practice paid off Sunday night as musicians in the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra played their final concert of the season.

Susan Gardels, Director of Development and Communication for the Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra, said most musicians were just ten to eleven years old. Yet, their talent far exceeded their years–especially in a group.

“Kids who love to play music, who are good at playing music, want to spend time with others who are as passionate about music as they are,” Gardels said.

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Three Wisconsin Utilities Apply For Rate Hikes In 2024, Citing Renewable Energy Construction Costs

Three utilities have submitted proposals to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to increase rates in 2024, and consumer advocates worry about how rate hikes could affect customers.

Those utilities are Alliant Energy, Xcel Energy and Madison Gas and Electric. The Public Service Commission, or PSC, is reviewing their requests for adjusted rates. 

The utilities cite the upfront costs of renewable energy projects as one of the factors for the proposed rate increases, which they say could help stem rate increases in the long run. But a consumer watchdog worries that profits and serving shareholders, rather than customers, are also motivating factors.

Although they haven't filed applications yet, WEC Energy Group's utilities — We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service — are also expected to propose rate increases later this year, according to Tom Content, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin, a nonprofit group that advocates for utility customers.

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Ashley Hagenow Selected As The 76th Alice In Dairyland

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has selected Ashley Hagenow of Poynette as Wisconsin's 76th Alice in Dairyland. In this position, Hagenow will work for the contract year as a full-time communications professional for DATCP, educating the public about the importance of agriculture in Wisconsin.

Hagenow is a senior at the University of Minnesota and will graduate in May 2023 with a Bachelor's degree in agricultural communication and marketing, with minors in animal science and agricultural and food business management.

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More Than One-Third Of Wisconsin Families Struggling Financially, Study Says

More than one-third of Wisconsinites are struggling to make ends meet, according to a new report by United Way Wisconsin.

The non-profit recently released its 2023 ALICE Report. ALICE represents individuals and households who earn just above the federal poverty level but struggle to afford basic necessities.

Thirty-four percent of households across Wisconsin struggle to afford the basic necessities of housing, child care, health care, food and transportation.

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Last Update: May 15, 2023 7:37 am CDT

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