Morning Headlines - Monday, Nov. 21, 2022

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

Morning Headlines - Monday, Nov. 21, 2022

U.S. and World Headlines

Shooting At Colorado Springs LGBTQ Club Leaves 5 Dead And Shatters Safe Haven Provided By The Venue

Lily Forsell remembers taking in the scene of the dance floor at Club Q as she was leaving Saturday after a night celebrating her 18th birthday – dozens of people were laughing, singing and dancing like they always did after the evening’s drag show.

Less than an hour later, that dance floor became the site of a violent attack.

As midnight neared, the safe haven for the Colorado Springs, Colorado, LGBTQ community was shattered by a gunman who entered the nightclub and opened fire, killing at least 5 people and injuring 25 others, police said.

Police rushed to the scene after receiving several 911 calls beginning at 11:56 p.m. They arrived to find at least two people in the venue had taken down the gunman and prevented further violence, according to Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez.

Victims were transported to several local hospitals, Vasquez said. Nineteen of the 25 people injured sustained gunshot wounds, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told CNN Sunday.

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Trump White House Bid Has Hardly Any Senate GOP Support

Only one Republican senator has announced publicly that he will support former-President Trump’s 2024 reelection bid, a sign of the uphill battle Trump faces in his quest to win the Republican presidential nomination and a second term in the White House.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) told reporters this week that he will support Trump’s candidacy for president and praised his track record in the Oval Office.

The rest of the Senate GOP conference is holding back, skeptical he can win the 2024 presidential election or even beat Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the primary.

Even Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), perhaps Trump’s closest ally in the Senate, hasn’t endorsed Trump’s candidacy, though he praised the former president’s campaign kickoff speech and says he will be “hard to beat.”

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Anti-Abortion Groups Blame GOP Silence For Election Defeat

Abortion opponents are pushing the GOP to campaign more openly and forcefully against the procedure after the party suffered a string of losses in House, Senate, state legislative and ballot initiative fights.

Less than six months after celebrating their decades-long goal of toppling Roe v. Wade and watching access to abortion nearly disappear in a quarter of the country, conservatives saw their hard-fought court victory galvanize abortion-rights supporters to outspend and outvote them in the midterms.

That whiplash has left the anti-abortion movement mired in infighting, finger-pointing and bitter disagreements over what messages and messengers they should embrace in a post-Roe era. Some are faulting party leaders including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and GOP candidates such as Senate contender Mehmet Oz for not running harder on abortion restrictions.

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Freight Rail Workers At The Biggest Unions Are Split On A Contract Deal, Raising The Specter Of A Strike

Workers at two of the country's biggest rail unions split over a tentative contract their leaders had hashed out with freight rail companies — leaving open the possibility of a debilitating rail strike in the middle of the holiday season.

Workers at the 24,000-member Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, which represents train engineers, voted in favor of the deal.

But the 28,000-member SMART-TD union, which represents rail conductors, was split on the contract. It was the fourth no vote by the unions that have been negotiating with the rail companies.

The no vote is a rejection of the compromise worked out in September between union leaders and the companies with the help of the White House and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

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Disney's Big Succession Fail

The sudden replacement of Disney CEO Bob Chapek with his revered predecessor Bob Iger represents a shocking ending to a bitter power struggle that's been building between the two executives for the past two years.

The move marks one of the messiest corporate succession failures in recent memory. Iger's return may satisfy anxious investors, but eventually, Disney will need to find another CEO to run the company.

In a statement Sunday evening, Disney said Iger will return to the company as chief executive, effective immediately, for the next two years and will work with the board to find a successor.

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Wisconsin Headlines

La Follette Declares Victory In Too-Close-To-Call Secretary Of State Race

With the race still too close to call, Wisconsin Secretary of State Democrat Doug La Follette has declared victory in his bid for reelection. 

La Follette said the release of Waukesha County's canvassing results Thursday made him confident enough to declare victory. According to his campaign, only three counties have yet to verify their unofficial vote totals. Those counties are Milwaukee, Monroe and Washington.

"There just was no chance in those counties to have enough to overturn the 7,000 vote lead that I have," La Follette told Wisconsin Public Radio. "I decided to go ahead, before the weekend, and say, ‘I think I'm the winner and I want to move ahead.'"

The remaining counties have until Tuesday to complete their canvass, and the Wisconsin Elections Commission has until Dec. 1 to certify results.

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Pence On ‘UpFront’ Says He Was Unaware Of Plan To Deliver Him Alternative Republican Electors

Former Vice President Mike Pence says on Jan. 6, 2021, he was unaware of the attempted plan to deliver him a slate of alternative Republican electors from Wisconsin.

“I was not aware of any plan to present alternative electors,” Pence said on WISN’s “UpFront,” which is produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com. “In fact, on the Sunday before Jan. 6, I met with the parliamentarian of the Senate and asked a very direct question, whether there were any other slates of electors that had not been certified by states across the county, and she assured me there was not.”

Text messages made public by the Jan. 6 committee revealed Pence’s aide texted Sen. Ron Johnson’s chief of staff informing him to not deliver the documents to Pence.

“I didn’t have any knowledge of that at the time,” Pence said. “I learned about that long after the fact, but it was altogether appropriate. The states have a process for certifying electors. Wisconsin had gone through that process.”

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Wisconsin Opioid Deaths Hit Another Record High In 2021

Wisconsin's opioid overdose deaths rose again last year, eclipsing a previous record from 2020.

There were 1,427 opioid-related deaths in the state in 2021, officials with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirmed, a 16 percent increase over 2020 and a 70 percent increase over the number of deaths in 2018.

The state's spike in opioid deaths mirrors national trends. Wisconsin's Director of Opioid Initiatives Paul Krupski believes social isolation, anxiety and stress from the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the crisis.

"Many individuals struggled with healthy coping skills to deal with those problems that many had never had to deal with before," Krupski said Friday. "And so unfortunately, those lack of healthy coping skills, in many cases, lead to individuals turning to substance use to cope."

In 2020, Wisconsin recorded 1,227 opioid-related deaths, which was 311 more deaths than in 2019.

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Two Paths Forward On Wisconsin’s Abortion Ban

Wisconsin’s 172-year-old abortion ban, which doesn’t include exceptions for rape or incest, proved to be an influential force in this month’s elections. With uncertainty about the future of abortion hanging over Wisconsin ever since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned federally protected abortion rights in June, Democrats galvanized women and young voters on the message of improving access. Some Republican candidates were firm about enforcing Wisconsin’s 19th century ban, while others treaded lightly, saying they would support additional exceptions.

The reelection of Democrats Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul as well as Republicans’ failure to secure a veto-proof legislative supermajority leaves Wisconsin in about the same position it was in before the election. Democrats are pursuing action through the courts while Republicans discuss the possibility of new abortion legislation.

“If [GOP candidate] Tim Michels had been elected as governor and if [Republican] Eric Toney had been elected as the attorney general for the state, a new law would have likely been passed, there’d be prosecution. The landscape moving forward would look very different,” said Michelle Velasquez, director of legal advocacy with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin. “With Kaul and Evers’ reelection, we’re really able to just stay the course.”

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USDA Awards $13 Million Grant To Improve Rural Health Care In Wisconsin

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced another round of grant money for pandemic relief this week for rural communities in Wisconsin.

According to USDA officials, $13 million was awarded to improve health care in rural towns in Wisconsin. The grant will go towards 13 heath care organizations to expand critical services for Wisconsinites.

“Having sustainable and accessible health care infrastructure in rural areas is critical to the health and well-being of the people living in small towns across Wisconsin,” USDA Rural Development State Director for Wisconsin Julie Lassa said.

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Last Update: Nov 21, 2022 9:43 am CST

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