Morning Headlines - Wednesday, Apr. 19, 2023

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

Morning Headlines - Wednesday, Apr. 19, 2023

U.S. and World Headlines

Fox News Reaches $787.5 Million Settlement In Dominion’s Defamation Lawsuit

Fox News agreed to pay $787.5 million to Dominion Voting Systems to settle a defamation lawsuit over false election claims on Tuesday, a massive sum that spared some of the biggest names in conservative media the witness stand.

Dominion, a voting machine company that has worked in over two dozen states, accused the conservative network of deliberately spreading bogus conspiracy theories about its products after the 2020 election in a bid to win back viewers. Those viewers refused to accept Donald Trump’s election defeat, Dominion said, and may also have been irate at Fox because its Decision Desk called Arizona for Joe Biden before other networks.

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Suit Seeks To Force Archives To Get DOJ Help In Finding Missing Secret Service Texts

A suit filed in federal court Wednesday seeks to compel the National Archives to seek assistance from the Department of Justice (DOJ) in recovering text messages from both the Secret Service and leadership of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that were apparently lost in days following the 2020 election.

The suit, filed on behalf of Ken Klippenstein, a reporter for The Intercept, turns to a provision of the Federal Records Act that requires the head of the Archives to request assistance from the attorney general if an agency does not act to recover the records.

Lawmakers were notified in July by DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari that the Secret Service had “erased” text messages from Jan. 6, 2021, something the agency said occurred as a result of a migration to a new phone software that took place just weeks after the attack on the Capitol.

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Biden And Harris Release Their Tax Returns

President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden earned a total of $579,514 and paid $169,820 in total federal and state taxes for an effective federal tax rate of 23.8% in 2022, according to copies of their returns obtained on Tax Day.

In 2022, the first couple donated $20,180 to 20 charities, with the largest gift of $5,000 going to the Beau Biden Foundation, a foundation named after the president's late son. Other charities they donated to include St. Joseph on the Brandywine, where the president attends church in Wilmington, Del., and the Fraternal Order of Police Foundation.

The president earned $400,000 from his day job, while the first lady reported $82,335 from her job as an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College, according to their tax records.

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Which 2024 Republican Presidential Candidate Has The Most Endorsements?

We’re tracking endorsements in the 2024 primary, weighted by the prominence of each endorser.

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Rising Sea Levels May Have Forced The Vikings Out Of A Successful Settlement

The Vikings disappeared abruptly from Greenland in the mid-15th century, some 400 years after arriving there. Why they abandoned a successful settlement is a mystery that historians never have been able to fully explain.

Theories include drought, changing temperatures, social unrest, and the overhunting of walrus tusks (a cherished luxury good in medieval Europe) — conditions that would have made Norse colonies in Greenland economically nonviable.

Now, a team of researchers from Harvard University and Pennsylvania State University say they have uncovered another key factor that could explain why the Vikings fled: a rise in sea levels.

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Wisconsin Headlines

Wisconsin Lawmakers Approve Bill Setting Harsher Carjacking Penalties

A bipartisan bill designating carjacking as a criminal offense and creating harsher penalties for people who use a weapon to steal a vehicle received final approval in the Wisconsin Legislature on April 18.

Passage by the Assembly sends the bill to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who has said he supports the measure. The Senate passed it in March on a bipartisan 23-8 vote. Evers earlier in April signed into law a Republican-sponsored bill to crack down on reckless driving.

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Final Approval: Microsoft's $1 Billion Data Center Moves Forward In Racine County

Microsoft's $1 billion investment is moving forward in Racine County after final approval for the proposed data center near the Foxconn site in Mount Pleasant.

Microsoft officials are eager to get started on their project and begin building.

"It's got all of the infrastructure. It's the size that we need. It's ready to go. It's a perfect parcel of land," Paul Englis, global director of community research and engagement for Microsoft, said.

Microsoft representatives say there are a number of benefits to moving the tech company's presence to Racine County, including providing hundreds of jobs in construction, engineering, IT, and more.

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UW Health Starts Limited Use Of Artificial Intelligence

When some UW Health patients send a message to their doctor, they'll start getting a response written by artificial intelligence. 

The health system is one of three nationwide trialing an AI program developed by Epic and Microsoft. 

Chero Goswami, UW Health's chief information officer, said people are sending their doctors more online messages at the same time health care providers are trying to recover from the stress of the pandemic.

"People are just tired," he said. "The burnout factor is pretty high, so we're willing to give things a chance."

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Ripon's Little White Schoolhouse Moves To A New Location, Threatening National Historic Status

The Birthplace of the Republican Party has a new home that local tourism officials hope will make it a better destination for visitors during the 2024 Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.

But the move came at a cost, with the building — at least for now — losing its status as a national historic landmark, and leaving some Republican Party leaders angry about the move.

The Little White Schoolhouse in Ripon moved to a new location Monday, shifted on the back of a truck from Blackburn Street, near the city’s downtown, to West Fond du Lac Street, a commercial corridor that connects Ripon with the tourist town of Green Lake.

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Assembly Passes Bills To Prohibit Local Bans On Gas-Powered Vehicles, Equipment

The Assembly today passed along party lines two bills to prohibit bans on gas-powered vehicles or devices.

AB 141, which would prevent state agencies and local governments from restricting the use of devices based on their energy source, such as leaf blowers or lawnmowers, passed 62-35. AB 142, which would do the same for motor vehicles, passed 63-35. Seven states have banned the sale of gas-powered vehicles starting in 2035.

Rep. David Steffen, R-Green Bay, voted in favor of the motor vehicle-related bill, but did not vote on the earlier bill. He told WisPolitics.com he was absent from the Assembly on the first vote because he was testifying on a bill in the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.

The bills now head to the Senate for consideration.

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Last Update: Apr 19, 2023 5:32 am CDT

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