Morning Headlines - Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024

U.S. & World and Wisconsin headlines, and today's meme.

Morning Headlines - Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024

U.S. and World Headlines

Iran Threatens To 'Decisively Respond' To Any U.S. Attack

Iran threatened Wednesday to “decisively respond” to any U.S. attack on the Islamic Republic following President Joe Biden's linking of Tehran to the killing of three U.S. soldiers at a military base in Jordan.

The U.S. has signaled it is preparing for retaliatory strikes in the Mideast in the wake of the Sunday drone attack that also injured at least 40 troops at Tower 22, a secretive base in northeastern Jordan that's been crucial to the American presence in neighboring Syria.

However, concerns remain that any additional American strikes could further inflame a region already roiled by Israel's ongoing war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the ongoing attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels on shipping in the Red Sea.

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House Committee Advances Mayorkas Impeachment Articles, Teeing Up Historic Floor Vote

The House Homeland Security Committee voted to advance articles of impeachment against Defense Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas early Wednesday, teeing up a floor vote that could make Mayorkas the first Cabinet secretary to be impeached in nearly 150 years.

After a 15-plus-hour meeting that at times grew contentious, the GOP-led committee voted 18-15 along party lines to advance two impeachment articles to the House floor, where Republicans hold a slim majority. Debate and votes on the articles are expected next week.

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Tropicana Las Vegas, Sin City Landmark Since 1957, To Be Demolished For MLB Baseball

When the Tropicana Las Vegas opened in 1957, Nevada's lieutenant governor unlocked the door to what would become a Sin City landmark for more than a half-century. Then he threw away the key.

“This was to signify that the Tropicana would always stay open,” said historian Michael Green.

Six decades later, the storied hotel-casino that once had ties to the mob and was nicknamed the “Tiffany of the Strip,” is set to shut its doors for good to make room for a $1.5 billion Major League Baseball stadium that will be home to the relocating Oakland Athletics.

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The Politicization Of Taylor Swift

A presidential race likely to be fought between two old men could be shaken up by the nation’s most famous 34-year-old woman.

Taylor Swift’s astronomical popularity and her willingness to speak up on political issues could make her a significant player in the 2024 race.

The New York Times reported Monday that President Biden’s reelection team is actively seeking Swift’s endorsement. The musician’s backing could go some way to boosting enthusiasm for the 81-year-old Biden, especially among young voters.

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Response To Elmo's "Checking In" Post Underscores U.S. Mental Health Crisis

"Sesame Street" favorite Elmo's wellness check-in post on X asking "How is everybody doing?" has been met with thousands of responses this week.

Many made clear in the comments section that they're not doing so well — with some citing being laid off, feeling tired or noting they're "depressed and broke."

The responses to Elmo's post that was seen an estimated 140 million-plus times underscore a growing mental health crisis across the U.S. and a national spike in anxiety and depression, with young people driving a rise in mental health spending in recent years.

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Wisconsin Headlines

Calumet County Judge Rules DNR Can Require Factory Farms To Obtain Water Pollution Permits In Advance

A Wisconsin judge ruled Jan. 30 that state regulators can force factory farms to obtain permits before they discharge pollutants, ensuring protections continue to apply preemptively for lakes, streams and drinking water.

Calumet County Circuit Judge Carey Reed issued the decision from the bench in a lawsuit brought by factory farm lobbyists, finding the state Department of Natural Resources has clear legal authority to protect the state’s waters.

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Wisconsin Democrats Introduce Several Bills To Promote And Protect Local Journalism

Democratic lawmakers say, over the past 20 years, one in every four American journalists has been laid off.

"Lawmakers all over the country are looking for answers to local news crises and looking for ways to plug information gaps in their communities," said Alex Frandsen, Journalism Program Manager at Free Press Action.

Lawmakers say the three bills introduced will encourage Wisconsinites to pursue careers in journalism, increase accessibility to local journalism and help strengthen community engagement.

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State Supreme Court Weighing Whether To Hear Suit To Put Phillips On Dem Presidential Primary Ballot

The state Supreme Court is weighing whether to hear Dean Phillips’ lawsuit over the decision to leave the Minnesota congressman off the Dem presidential primary ballot.

Phillips filed a petition for original action with the court on Friday, alleging the Wisconsin Elections Commission and the state Presidential Preference Selection Committee “abused their discretion” by refusing to place him on the April 2 Wisconsin ballot despite his request to be included.

State law gives the Presidential Preference Selection Committee the sole power to place candidates on the primary ballot for parties that received at least 10% of the vote in the most recent guv election.

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Financial Advisor Indicted For Wire Fraud

Gregory J. Haanstad, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on January 17, 2024, a grand jury returned an indictment charging Robert C. Starnes with two counts of committing wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343. 

According to the indictment, Starnes allegedly operated Robert C. Starnes Financial Services, and was a registered investment advisor. Starnes, citing his role as an investment advisor, would seek investment funds from his clients, promising safe returns on those investments. Once someone agreed to invest, Starnes would ask for funds, which he then deposited into his personal bank account. The indictment alleges that Starnes then used these funds to pay his personal expenses. The indictment further explains that Starnes would provide investors with fabricated account statements showing fake investment returns, and, when an investor asked to withdraw money from these accounts, Starnes would send them funds to continue the scheme by persuading them that he had invested their assets.

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Truancy Could Mean Being Held Back A Grade Under New Proposal

Wisconsin students who miss 30 or more days of school could be held back a grade, under a new proposal.

If the legislation is approved, beginning in the 2025-26 school year, public school students and students at private schools that receive state money who miss a month or more of class would not advance to the next grade.

Currently, state law requires school boards to have policies stating what conditions a student must meet to be promoted from third to fourth grade, fourth to fifth grade and eight to ninth grade.

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Last Update: Jan 31, 2024 7:36 am CST

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