U.S. and World Headlines
McCarthy Readies For Floor Showdown In Speakership Bid As Opponents Dig In Heels
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is expected to go to the House floor to fight for the Speakership as his GOP opponents signal their stance is hardening.
McCarthy this week started posturing for a floor showdown and turning up the heat on those withholding support.
On Newsmax on Monday, McCarthy warned that House Democrats could pick the Speaker if Republicans “play games” on the House floor on Jan. 3. He shot down a question from CNN on Tuesday on whether he would step down in the race for Speaker if he does not get support from 218 Republicans. And on Fox News Tuesday night, he warned that if he does not get a majority of Speaker votes, GOP investigative priorities cannot go forward.
“We can’t start investigating [Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro] Mayorkas. We can’t secure the border. We can’t lower the gasoline price by making us energy independent,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy won support from more than 80 percent of the House Republican Conference for the Speakership nomination. But 31 Republicans voted against him, and with the GOP winning a slim majority — around 222 seats to around 212 for Democrats, all of whom are expected to vote for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) for Speaker — just a handful of GOP defectors on the floor could force multiple Speaker ballots or sink his bid.Read More
Drinking Water To Retail: How A Rail Strike Could Upend The Economy
President Joe Biden, lawmakers and business leaders are warning of an economic crisis should the country’s railroad workers go on strike as planned next week — a move that would have far-reaching effects across the economy.
Railway workers would go on strike shortly after midnight Dec. 9 if a deal isn't reached before then. Biden is urging Congress to intervene.
Without congressional intervention and with talks between workers and railway operators seemingly at a standstill, companies across the economy are bracing for a complete shutdown of freight and passenger railway systems. With a shortage of truck drivers, companies wouldn’t be able to shift their shipments, stranding a vast majority of goods.Read More
'That '70s Show' Star Rape Case Ends In Mistrial
A judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the Danny Masterson rape case after the jury was unable to reach a verdict.
The "That '70s Show" star had pleaded not guilty to three counts of felony rape following accusations by three different women. The alleged attacks took place between 2001 and 2003.
On count 1, two jurors voted for guilty and 10 voted for not guilty. On count 2, four voted for guilty and eight for not guilty. Five voted for guilty and seven for not guilty on count 3.
The three alleged victims were members of the Church of Scientology, as was Masterson. All three women said they were initially hesitant to speak to law enforcement because they said church teachings discouraged reporting to police. The women eventually left the church.Read More
Killings Of 4 University Of Idaho Students May Not Have Been The Result Of A Targeted Attack
As a campus community gathered Wednesday to pay their respects for four University of Idaho students killed on November 13, officials clarified additional details in their investigation to find the culprit responsible for their deaths.
Authorities in the college town of Moscow, where the students were found, have previously said they suspected the killings were the result of a targeted attack. But an update from the City of Moscow on Wednesday referenced an earlier “miscommunication” with the Latah County Prosecutor’s Office, which stated the attacker or attackers “specifically looked at this residence” and “one or more of the occupants were undoubtedly targeted.”
“Detectives do not currently know if the residence or any occupants were specifically targeted but continue to investigate,” the city’s statement said. CNN has reached out to the Moscow Police Communications Team and to the Latah County Prosecutor’s Office for clarification.Read More
Airlines' Next Struggle? Where To Plug In Their Planes
Travelers know how hard it can be to find a plug at the airport to charge a phone or laptop. Now airlines are facing a similar challenge as they electrify their ground and air operations.
Even the largest airports don't have enough juice to quickly charge all the electrified planes, flying taxis and ground equipment that airlines intend to roll out over the coming years. Stationary power storage — meaning, gigantic industrial batteries — will help fill the gap.
United Airlines this week bought an undisclosed stake in energy storage company Natron Energy, making it the first airline to invest directly in a battery manufacturer.
United has electrified about 30% of its ground equipment, but is running into power constraints at some hubs.Read More
Wisconsin's Next Partisan Battle Will Be Over The Balance Of Power On Its Supreme Court
Four people so far have announced their plans to run for Wisconsin's Supreme Court in an election that could shift the top court's ideological balance of power.
Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow became the second conservative to jump into the race when she\ announced her candidacy this week outside the courthouse where she presided over the trial of the Waukesha Christmas parade attacker.
Another conservative, former state Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, is also running, along with two liberals — Dane County Circuit Judge Everett Mitchell and Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz.
Currently, conservatives have a 4-3 majority on the court, though that could change if a liberal is elected in April to replace conservative Justice Patience Roggensack, who's retiring this summer at the end of her second 10-year term.
"It is a highly consequential election because it's going to determine the balance of the court until at least 2025," said Robert Yablon, an associate professor at the University Wisconsin-Madison Law School.
Although Wisconsin's Supreme Court elections are officially non-partisan, UW-Madison political science Professor Howard Schweber notes highly partisan issues are at stake. That includes abortion rights, gerrymandering and the way elections are run.Read More
Jan. 6 Panel Interviews Wisconsin GOP Assembly Speaker
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol interviewed Republican Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Wednesday, moving to wrap up depositions ahead of preparing a final report.
Vos had filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block a subpoena demanding his testimony about a phone call with Donald Trump in July 2021 during which the former president asked him to overturn Wisconsin's results for the 2020 election.
Both sides agreed to postpone oral arguments in the lawsuit that were originally scheduled for Oct. 24, and Vos confirmed Wednesday that he had met with the committee.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, the panel's chairman, told reporters the committee wanted to see “if there's any more information that we can glean” from Trump's call to Vos.
The committee has spent parts of the past year and a half questioning several state and local lawmakers in seven swing states that Democrat Joe Biden won in 2020. In the days and weeks after the presidential election, Trump and his allies sought to overturn the results in those states to favor the Republican.Read More
Wisconsin Congressmen Cross Party Lines On Rail Strike Vote
Wisconsin's members of Congress split in bipartisan votes, both for and against a bill removing the risk of a rail strike.
The House passed the bill Tuesday in a 290-137 vote. 79 Republicans joined the Democratic majority while eight Democrats voted against the bill.
Those backing the move said risking a strike shutting down freight transportation on the nation's railways would devastate the economy. An estimate from the Anderson Economic Group found a strike would cost the economy $1 billion in its first week.
The legislation forces rail workers to accept a negotiated agreement; rank and file members of the country's biggest rail union rejected the tentative deal.
Rep. Mark Pocan was the lone Wisconsin Democrat to vote against the bill. Reps. Gwen Moore and Ron Kind voted in favor of the agreement.Read More
Two Central Wisconsin Men Charged With Methamphetamine Trafficking
A federal grand jury in the Western District of Wisconsin, sitting in Madison, returned an indictment today charging Devin Needham, 36, Wausau, Wisconsin, and Ari Lor, 30, Appleton, Wisconsin, with possessing methamphetamine for distribution. The indictment is announced by United States Attorney Timothy M. O’Shea.
The indictment charges Needham and Lor with possessing 50 grams or more of pure methamphetamine with intent to distribute. The indictment alleges that they possessed the methamphetamine on June 20, 2022. Lor were arrested on that day in Wausau, and Needham was arrested in Wausau on August 23, 2022. They are in custody at the Marathon County Jail.
If convicted, Needham and Lor face a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a maximum of life in federal prison.Read More
Disparities Persist In Wisconsin Special Education Practices As Budget Battles Loom
The types of disabilities typically diagnosed for children around Wisconsin exhibit distinct disparities by race, complicating efforts by educators to help kids learn in an environment where time and resources are at a premium.
Rachel Fish, a sociology professor at New York University, researches disparities by gender and race in special education. In research that focused on Wisconsin public school students that was published in July 2022, Fish found that white children are more likely to be diagnosed with "high-status" disabilities like Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, known as ADHD, while children of color are more often diagnosed with "low-status" disabilities, primarily other behavior disorders. At the same time, white children are about half as likely as Black or Native students to receive an Individual Education Program, which is a legally defined special education protocol for eligible students.
In the state's public schools, students are evaluated on their need for additional support in school using what's termed a "Equitable Multi-Tiered Systems of Support" method, as defined by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). This system uses data and collaboration to evaluate and support academic, behavioral and social-emotional instruction for students.Read More