Morning Headlines - Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022

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

Morning Headlines - Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022

U.S. and World Headlines

Republicans Flip The House

Republicans have won back control of the House, giving the GOP a toehold to check President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats despite a disappointing midterm election.

Republicans are on track for the smallest of majorities despite pre-election predictions that a red wave was coming. Instead, it took more than a week of vote-counting after Election Day for it to be clear the party had won the majority. And that majority could be difficult to manage for a Republican speaker next year.

The decisive call came in a California race, with Rep. Mike Garcia being declared the winner in his reelection bid in the state’s 27th District over Democratic challenger Christy Smith.

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Nancy Pelosi, 82, Will Announce Decision On Her Future Today

With Republicans set to take over the House of Representatives and Democrats slated for leadership elections at the end of the month, outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's will tell people her plans on Thursday.

Pelosi, 82, announced through a spokesperson that she'll 'address her future plans' later today with speculation already having begun as to whether she'll remain the leader of the Democrats. 

Rumors have suggested that Pelosi would step down from Congress entirely, potentially leaving her extremely left-leaning district in San Francisco to her daughter Christine.

She has served in Congress since 1987 and on two occasions as speaker, is currently helping her husband recover from a home invasion and attack in late October.

President Joe Biden has asked Pelosi, a fellow Democrat, to remain in Congress and to continue holding a Democratic leadership role, sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

There was no comment on whether Pelosi responded to Biden.

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Divided Government Is More Productive Than You Think

Now that CNN has projected Republicans will win the House of Representatives, it’s time to consider a Washington where both parties have some control.

Despite underperforming on Election Day, the GOP gains will have a major impact on what’s accomplished in the coming two years.

Additional climate change policy? Don’t count on it. National abortion legislation? Not a chance. Voting rights? Not likely.

Plus, Republicans have indicated they will use any leverage they can find – including the debt ceiling – to force spending cuts.

While you might immediately think this is all a recipe for a stalemate in Washington, I was surprised to read the argument, backed up by research, that the US government actually overperforms during periods of divided government.

Those periods are coming more and more frequently, by the way. While there used to be relatively long periods of a decade or more during which one party controlled all of Washington, recent presidents have lost control of the House.

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Welcome To The New Moon Age

NASA's successful launch this week of its Moon rocket ushers in a new age of lunar exploration.

NASA's Artemis program may help spark the inspiration that a major human spaceflight endeavor — like the Apollo program — can bring to new generations.

  • NASA's plans for Mars also hinge on the Artemis program, which will use the Moon as a proving ground for sending crewed missions to the Red Planet.
  • "There's an underestimation about the importance of Artemis," the Planetary Society's Casey Dreier tells Axios. "This is the first time in 50 years that we've had hardware designed to do this."

The Space Launch System took flight from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday, lofting an uncrewed Orion capsule on a journey around the Moon.

Apollo was a race between two nations, but NASA says Artemis is built on the premise that countries around the world should cooperate to create a sustainable presence on the Moon.

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National Unfriend Day – November 17, 2022

On November 17, 2010, Jimmy Kimmel went on his nightly talk show to announce that it was National Unfriend Day. In this digital age, we’ve reached a threshold of social connections.

Does your friend from elementary school who you haven’t spoken to in twenty years really need to be your Facebook friend? Do you really want to see the Instagram posts of that guy you met in line for the bathroom at that party in college? How about even that center for your favorite basketball team that you follow on Twitter who retired three years ago – is it important to see how they’re handling being retired at 35?

These questions and more have been building slowly over the past twenty or so years since social media was created and we’ve been collecting friends online as if they were the latest trend in fashion. But after years of adding social networks and hoarding friends and follows, in 2010 we reached a cultural terminal velocity in how many connections we can sustain. Now it’s time to cleanse.

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Wisconsin Headlines

Waukesha Parade Killer Darrell Brooks Gets 1,067 Years In Jail And Six Consecutive Life Sentences

Waukesha parade killer Darrell Brooks was sentenced to six life sentences after he was found guilty on that same number of counts of intentional homicide. 

He was removed from the courtroom on at least two separate occasions as he waited to see his sentence for killing six people, while the judge broke down in tears after reading the stories of his victim.

The judge symbolically added at least another 1,067 years to the life sentences to underscore the severity of the crimes for which she said Brooks showed 'no remorse, no empathy.'

Brooks, 40, received the sentencing after a circuit court jury in Waukesha, Wisconsin, found him guilty on Oct. 26 of 76 criminal charges, including the six counts of intentional homicide.

Judge Jennifer Dorow, who has clashed with the self-representing Brooks throughout the trial, broke down in tears after recalling having watched scenes of what happened.

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Wisconsin-Based Company Under Investigation For Allegedly Using Child Labor

A Nebraska judge has ordered a Wisconsin-based company to comply with a federal investigation into allegations that it used child labor.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor sued Packers Sanitation Services Inc., or PSSI, which is headquartered in Grant County and employs 17,000 people who clean 700 food processing plants nationwide.

According to the Nov. 9 civil complaint, PSSI hired 31 minors between 13 and 17 years old to clean meat packing plants in Minnesota and Nebraska. The lawsuit said several of those minors, including a 13-year-old, suffered chemical burns and other injuries.

The Department of Labor said minors were working overnight shifts in hazardous occupations. PSSI also allegedly interfered with an investigation by intimidating minors and deleting or manipulating employment files.

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Frac Sand Mining Back On The Rise In Wisconsin

Prior to 2020, sand frac mining had been a declining industry in the Badger State. Wisconsin’s coveted northern white sand was proving too expensive to transport to sites across the country. Many companies migrated to Texas, closer to fracking operations that extract oil and gas. But one Texas-based company, Smart Sand Inc., is making a comeback in Wisconsin.

According to Wisconsin Public Radio, the company reported a 41% increase in sales of northern white sand during the third quarter of 2022. Recently, he company’s sales double year after year. A filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission offered a clarifying view into why frac sand mining in Wisconsin is on a momentary rebound.

Demand for oil and gas dipped during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Subsequent years have seen a rebound in that demand, and then the invasion of Ukraine occurred. “The ongoing conflict in the Ukraine has contributed to dramatic swings in oil and natural gas prices and significant volatility in the oilfield service sector,” the filing states. “Additionally, current high inflation and other economic factors could lead to a global economic recession that could have a negative impact on global oil and natural gas demand, which may lead to continued volatility in the oil field service sector. We cannot predict if positive pricing trends will continue or if sand prices will increase, decrease, or stabilize.”

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Evers Skeptical Of GOP Calls To Cut Top Tax Rates, Move To Universal School Choice

Gov. Tony Evers says he can’t envision signing a budget that would lower the state’s top income tax rates as some Republicans have suggested.

He also expressed skepticism yesterday about Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’ suggestion that Republicans could provide Evers the funding boost for K-12 education he wants in exchange for universal school choice.

Vos, R-Rochester, last week didn’t define what universal school choice would entail. Meanwhile, Evers joined state Superintendent Jill Underly this fall in calling for a more than $2 billion boost in K-12 funding.

The Evers administration has previously said it expects a more than $5 billion surplus in the biennium that ends June 30. The Department of Administration on Monday is scheduled to release its first look at the 2023-25 budget by compiling agency spending requests along with the first revenue projections for the two-year period.

“I want to see the numbers. But I don’t know how you can expand choice and fully fund schools,” the guv said while touring the Plumbers Union Local 75 Training Center in Madison for a career fair as part of National Apprenticeship Week.

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Man Charged With Selling Migratory Birds

A Cuban citizen living in Madison, Wisconsin is charged with 3 counts of violating the Migratory Bird Trafficking Act in an indictment returned on October 12, 2022, by a federal grand jury sitting in Madison.  The indictment is announced by Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin.

Jorge Luis Iglesias, 60, made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Madison yesterday and was detained in custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for November 17, at 9:00 a.m.

The indictment charges Iglesias with 3 counts of selling migratory birds, specifically Yellow-faced Grassquits, in violation of federal law. The indictment alleges that he sold the birds on April 21, May 5, and December 29, 2020.

If convicted, Iglesias faces a maximum penalty of 2 years in federal prison on each count.  The charges against him are the result of an investigation by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Graber is handling the prosecution.

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Last Update: Nov 17, 2022 6:59 am CST

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