Take a look at the stories from around our area and world that are making news today.
As Trump's ratings with Wisconsin men rise, gender gap becomes massive: Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes: "Women and men have long diverged in their views of Donald Trump. But in Wisconsin, the gender gap over President Trump has grown to staggering proportions, a recent poll suggests. In a statewide survey released last week by the Marquette Law School, 54 percent of men approved of Trump’s performance in office and 39 percent disapproved — for a 'net approval' rating of plus 15. But among women, 33 percent approved and 60 percent disapproved, for a net approval of minus 27. Compared to the last time Marquette polled in Wisconsin — June 2017 — Trump’s net approval is down 8 points among women but up 14 points among men. 'In this case, it looks like more of the change (in the gender gap) is being driven by men becoming favorable to Trump' than by women becoming more negative, said Marquette pollster Charles Franklin. In fact, Trump’s overall image among men — 53 percent now view him favorably, 41 percent unfavorably — has never been better in the Marquette survey, which has polled 16 times on Trump since 2015." Read more.
Sense of humor 'as vast as the universe': Tributes flood in as world remembers Stephen Hawking: Euan McKirdy and Lauren Said-Moorhouse of CNN write: "Figures from the scientific community and beyond came together to mark the passing of famed physicist Stephen Hawking, who died at age 76 on Wednesday, the same day as Albert Einstein's birthday, also known as 'Pi day.' The academic, author and noted scientist brought his complex theories to a wide audience through his bestselling book, 'A Brief History of Time.' 'He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years,' his three children, Lucy, Robert and Tim, said in a joint statement. 'His courage and persistence, with his brilliance and humor, inspired people across the world. He once said, 'It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love.' We will miss him forever.' Neil deGrasse Tyson, another scientist who has made great strides in popularizing the field among the wider public, paid tribute to the Cambridge academic with a typically tongue-in-cheek physics joke. 'His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake,' the astrophysicist wrote on Twitter. 'But it's not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure. Stephen Hawking, RIP 1942-2018.'" Read more.
Pennsylvania's special election isn't an isolated incident. The GOP is in trouble: Harry Enten of CNN writes: "Even without a winner declared Tuesday night, it was clear based on the results what the race would tell us about the 2018 midterm elections. Democrat Conor Lamb holds a narrow lead over Republican Rick Saccone, but it really shouldn't be that close: Donald Trump won by 20 percentage points by 2016 and the district has been solidly Republican for a little over a decade. But it's not just about this one race in isolation. It's about what all the signs are telling us. Yes, dynamics may change in the lead up to November. Events can change the course of history. But at the present time, Lamb's performance in Pennsylvania 18 is merely the latest sign Democrats are surging right now, spelling trouble for Republicans heading into the midterm elections. As I pointed out on Monday, the federal special election held before Pennsylvania 18 showed Republicans in a poor position. In the average of seven special elections before this one, Democrats were outperforming their partisan baseline (based off the previous two presidential results in the district) by 16 percentage points. In Pennsylvania 18, Lamb, the Democrat, outperformed it by 22 percentage points -- a little better than average and essentially matching what they did in the Kansas 4 special election in April 2017." Read more.
Gina Haspel, Trump’s choice for CIA, played role in torture program: Adam Goldman of the New York Times writes: "Just over a year after the Sept. 11 attacks, the C.I.A. dispatched the veteran clandestine officer Gina Haspel to oversee a secret prison in Thailand. Shortly after, agency contractors in the frantic hunt for the conspirators waterboarded a Qaeda suspect three times and subjected him to brutal interrogation techniques. Ms. Haspel’s time running the prison, code-named Cat’s Eye, began her deep involvement in the agency’s counterterrorism operations and showed her willingness to take part in the agency’s rendition, detention and interrogation program, which shaped her career. She was a rising star until that dark chapter in C.I.A. history began to emerge publicly. But under President Trump, her fortunes changed, and on Tuesday, he announced that he intended to name her director of the C.I.A. With his elevation of Ms. Haspel, now the agency’s deputy director, Mr. Trump displayed a willingness to ignore the widespread denunciations of waterboarding, sleep deprivation, confinements in boxes and other interrogation techniques that were used by the C.I.A. more than a decade ago." Read more.
Gun-trained teacher accidentally discharges firearm in Calif. classroom, injuring student: Fred Barbash of the New York Times writes: "A teacher who is also a reserve police officer trained in firearm use accidentally discharged a gun Tuesday at Seaside High School in Monterey County, Calif., during a class devoted to public safety. A male student was reported to have sustained non-life-threatening injuries. The weapon, which was not described, was pointed at the ceiling, according to a statement from the school, and debris fell from the ceiling. Seaside Police Chief Abdul Pridgen told the Monterey County Weekly that a male student was 'struck in the neck by ‘debris or fragmentation’ from something overhead.' Pridgen said whatever hit the student was not a bullet. However, the student’s father, Fermin Gonzales, told KSBW 8 that it was his understanding that fragments from the bullet ricocheted off the ceiling and lodged in the boy’s neck. The father said the teacher told the class before pointing the gun at the ceiling that he was doing so to make sure his gun wasn’t loaded, something that can be determined visually. 'It’s the craziest thing,' Gonzales told the station. 'It could have been very bad.'” Read more.
Wisconsin GOP Senate candidates bicker over debates as campaign turns nasty: Patrick Marley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes: "In a sign of increasing tensions in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate, top aides to the candidates exchanged bitter emails over their debate schedule. The public argument showed the race could get nasty between now and the Aug. 14 primary. It started with Kevin Nicholson adviser Brandon Moody sending reporters an email criticizing state Sen. Leah Vukmir of Brookfield for planning to provide a video message for a March 28 forum instead of attending in person because of a scheduling conflict. 'Thanks, Leah! We are so excited that you will send a 2 minute canned video response rather than stand on a stage with your opponent to talk about the issues,' Moody wrote in his email. 'A real profile in courage.' He added: 'I think it’s fair to ask what, in all honesty, is happening in Leah’s world that she can’t handle a debate? She wants to be in the United States Senate — the world’s most deliberative body — where a lot of debating occurs last time I checked.' Vukmir aide Jessica Ward fired back with an email that said Nicholson wasn't committing to other proposed debates and emphasized Nicholson's Democratic past." Read more.