Morning Headlines - Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023

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

Morning Headlines - Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023

U.S. and World Headlines

The Secret Service Analyzed 173 Mass Casualty Attacks. Here's What They Found

Nearly three-quarters of assailants used guns to carry out mass-casualty attacks between 2016 and 2020, according to a study released by the federal government Wednesday. 

Over one-third of the attackers experienced unstable housing within two decades of their attack. And nearly one-quarter shared "final communications" in the run-up to launching them, including calling people to say goodbye, authoring suicide notes, and posting manifestos online.

The 72-page report, authored by the U.S. The Secret Service's National Threat Assessment Center, analyzed 173 incidents that resulted in three or more individuals injured or killed across public or semi-public spaces, including businesses, schools and houses of worship. Researchers hope new insights into the behaviors of attackers will prevent future tragedies by informing bystander reporting.

"There is no community that is immune from this," said Dr. Nina Alathari, chief of the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center. "But we do see commonalities that will help us with prevention."

Here are the key takeaways.

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America’s System For Handling Classified Documents Is Broken, Say Lawmakers And Former Officials

The U.S. government’s system for labeling and tracking classified documents appears to be broken, with potentially serious consequences for the country’s national security, lawmakers, former officials and scholars said Tuesday.

News that classified documents were found at the private home of former Vice President Mike Pence marks the latest in a series of revelations involving both the Trump and Obama administrations, raising questions about how the government labels material as secret and how it manages those documents, including after a president leaves office.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers said there was a “systemic failure” if both the Obama and Trump administrations could not keep track of classified documents after their tenures ended.

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Schiff, Swalwell, Omar Respond After Speaker McCarthy Keeps Them Off Committees: 'Political Vengeance'

Reps. Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell, and Ilhan Omar, who were stripped of their committee assignments b House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, have accused him of "political vengeance" in a statement Tuesday evening after he again blocked their appointments.

"It’s disappointing but not surprising that Kevin McCarthy has capitulated to the right wing of his caucus, undermining the integrity of the Congress, and harming our national security in the process," said Schiff, D-Calif., Swalwell, D-Calif., and Omar, D-Minn., in a joint statement.

The statement is the latest exchange in an ongoing tiff between McCarthy, R-Calif., and the three Democrats after he removed them from choice committee assignments after Republicans took over the majority, and he was elected Speaker.

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Tax Refunds May Shrink This Year

Many people depend on their refunds to make ends meet, pay down debt or fund extras like vacations. And checks are shrinking at a time when rising prices are already making it harder to pay the bills.

The average tax refund in 2022 was $3,039, a 7.5% increase from the previous year. Now, things are headed back down to Earth as pandemic-era policies expire.

  • The enhanced child tax credit is gone. Parents who received $3,600 per child during the flush times will now get $2,000.
  • The Child and Dependent Care Credit, a break that helps working parents pay for childcare, returns to a maximum of $2,100 instead of $8,000.
  • During COVID, taxpayers could take a $600 deduction for charitable donations even if they just took a standard deduction. Now, only those who itemize can deduct charitable payments.
  • The Earned Income Tax Credit is also lower than last year for taxpayers with no children.
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Goldman Sachs Says 4 US Cities Will Suffer A 2008 Crash In Home Values

Goldman Sachs expects home values to worsen through 2023 amid continued skyrocketing interest rates and declining housing prices.

The firm wrote to clients earlier this month that it predicts four U.S. cities will suffer the most catastrophic dips, drawing comparisons to the 2008 housing crash.

San Jose, California; San Diego, California; Austin, Texas; and Phoenix, Arizona, will likely see noticeable increases before drastic decreases of more than 25%.

These declines would be similar to those witnessed during the Great Recession in 2008. Home prices across the U.S. fell around 27% at the time, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index.

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Wisconsin Headlines

Evers Calls For Tax Cut, Shared Revenue Compromise In 2023 State Of The State

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers announced Jan. 24 he wants to work with Republicans to divert as much as 20% of the state's sales tax revenue to help fund local communities, including police and emergency services, while he also promised to cut taxes for the middle class and fight a GOP effort to impose a flat income tax rate.

Evers, in his fifth State of the State speech and the first of his second term, pledged to compromise with Republicans who control the Wisconsin Legislature in order to increase funding for schools and local governments. All of the spending proposals Evers announced will be in competition for a state budget surplus that is projected to be near $7 billion.

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State Bar Warns Attorney Shortage Could Lead To Constitutional Crisis

The State Bar of Wisconsin is calling the shortage of prosecutors and public defenders a “constitutional crisis” that could lead to the erosion of the right to a fair and speedy trial.

While the State Bar in a press release notes the issues “has been percolating for years,” it also notes Dodge County DA Kurt Klomberg’s resignation earlier this month underscores the problem.

“District Attorneys across the state have either staff shortages or positions they are unable to fill as salaries have not kept pace with the employment market,” the State Bar’s press release reads. “Starting pay for new assistant prosecutors ranks Wisconsin among the bottom 10 nationally.”

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Randle El Guilty On All Counts In Double Homicide

A Rock Co. jury convicted Marcus Randle El on both counts of first-degree intentional homicide in connection with the 2020 killings of two women in a Janesville shooting.

Jurors deliberated for less than two hours to find Randle El, 36, guilty on all four charges, which also included two firearms counts, in the deaths of Seairaha Winchester and Brittany McAdory. Following the verdict, the judge revoked his bond and set his sentencing hearing for May 3, at which time the victims’ loved ones will be able to make their statements.

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Repeat Sex Offender Sentenced To 10 Years For Possessing Child Pornography

Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Kelly M. Schultz, 45, of Antigo, Wisconsin, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to 10 years in prison for possessing child pornography. The prison term will be followed by 20 years of supervised release.  Schultz pleaded guilty to this charge on August 23, 2022.

In March 2017, law enforcement determined that Schultz was posing as a teenage girl on-line in an attempt to get a teenage boy to send him sexually explicit images. As part of that investigation, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at the defendant’s home and seized approximately 150 CDs and DVDs. During the analysis of these items, law enforcement found numerous images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Judge Peterson found that the 10-year sentence was warranted based on Schultz’s pattern of sex offenses against children. He previously was convicted of the sexual assault of a child.

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Most Wisconsin Businesses Think A Recession Is Coming, But Its Still To Soon To Tell

A new industry survey shows the majority of Wisconsin businesses worry the state is headed toward a recession, but economists are less certain.

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce released the results of a survey of 164 employers from various industries last week. The survey shows that 60 percent of businesses fear a looming recession, while inflation and the ongoing labor shortage are among employers’ top concerns.

"Wisconsin businesses are clearly pessimistic about the economy," said Nick Novak, the association's vice president of communications. "You have a majority of businesses believing that we're heading towards a recession — that's not a good thing."

While businesses are worried about a possible recession, several factors could help the state fare better than America as a whole during an economic slowdown and even potentially avoid a recession altogether.

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Last Update: Jan 25, 2023 7:24 am CST

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