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BRANDON RAYGO

Take a look at the stories from around our area and world that are making news today.

Priebus: 'I miss the daily political drama'Josh Dawsey and Matthew Nussbaum of Politico write: "Steve Bannon now flies only by private plane — and has his own small security team that surrounds him 24 hours a day. Reince Priebus spends Friday afternoons at the swanky Belle Haven Country Club in Alexandria, sipping Heineken on the patio and trying to break 90 over 18 holes. He is charging at least $50,000 to give private talks about the White House to CEOs and carries a phone that seems to ring nonstop. Michael Flynn, meanwhile, floats in a sort of legal purgatory, with his siblings setting up a defense fund to help him foot the bills and TV cameras swarming outside his house, representing another group of White House aides who live in fear of the footsteps of prosecutors and early-morning knocks on the door. Standing on a stage at the Midtown Manhattan Hilton in the early hours of Nov. 9 almost a year ago, basking in his surprise victory, Donald Trump name-dropped each man. In the days and weeks that followed, he would appoint each to senior White House roles. Their days in the White House are long gone." Read more


Residents split on proposal to lower Wisconsin drinking age to 19: Coreen Zell of WTMJ writes: "Lawmakers will soon introduce a bill to that proposes the state lower the drinking age in Wisconsin to 19. The authors of the bill believe if you are old enough to serve in the military, you are old enough to drink. Critics said the bill would mean more deaths as a result of drunk driving. 'I think it's ridiculous,' said Tennessee Love, of Milwaukee. 'I think they should do it,' said Emmaline Friederichs, of Milwaukee. Three state representatives hope other lawmakers will back lowering the drinking age, with the stipulation Wisconsin wouldn't lose federal highway funds. 'To be honest I think it might be a little low, but at the same time there's kids out here doing it anyway,' said Roman Peavy. Some are torn on the idea, while others have strong opinions. 'Parents aren't in control of it so if we make the drinking age at 19 I think kids are going to be less focused on things like going to school and working,' said Love. Mother's Against Drunk Driving is also opposed to the idea. Bill co-author Rep. Adam Jarchow (Balsam Lake) told TODAY'S TMJ4 the bill would remove rebellion surrounding underage binge drinking. He believes the lower drinking age could lead away from tragedies." Read more.


4 ways Tammy Baldwin could lose in 2018: Madeleine Behr of USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin writes: "The 2018 mid-term election is a year off with two high-profile races for governor and the U.S. senate in Wisconsin. Incumbents — Gov. Scott Walker (R) and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) — have a powerful advantage with 93 percent of incumbent senators and 80 percent of governors getting re-elected in 2016. We spoke with nearly a dozen Wisconsin political science professors, pollsters and campaign strategists from both parties about the potential downfalls for both. Though a lot could change in 12 months, here are some of the vulnerabilities they identified in Baldwin's run for a second term: 1. Appealing to urban liberals and Trump supporters at the same time. This is a daunting task, most of the observers said. While Trump has a weaker approval rating in Wisconsin (the most recent statewide poll from the Marquette Law School showed 41 percent support from registered voters), he has supporters in northern and western parts of the state who could have also voted for Baldwin in the past. So, how does she keep up with her #Resist base while not alienating rural voters? 'Some of the issues she's defined herself on are not winning issues in northern Wisconsin,' said Lawrence University government professor Arnold Shober. "One thing we learned in 2016 was that Democrats took for granted that chunk of Wisconsin voters because they had been traditionally Democrat, loosely attached to unions. ... Baldwin will have to navigate that issue. 2. Republicans will push the Tomah VA scandal. Hard." Read more.


Driverless shuttle in Las Vegas gets in fender bender within an hour: Devin Coldewey of TechCrunch writes: "A driverless shuttle set free in downtown Las Vegas was involved in a minor accident less than an hour after it hit the streets, reported the local NBC affiliate KSNV. Not really the kind of publicity you want, or that self-driving cars need. The shuttle, an egglike 8-seater Navya, is operated by the AAA and Keolis. It was a test deployment along half a mile of the Fremont East 'Innovation District,' so this thing wasn’t cruising the strip. Probably a good thing. Now, it must be said that technically the robo-car was not at fault. It was struck by a semi that was backing up, and really just grazed — none of the passengers was hurt. Like any functioning autonomous vehicle, the shuttle can avoid obstacles and stop in a hurry if needed. What it apparently can’t do is move a couple feet out of the way when it looks like a 20-ton truck is going to back into it. A passenger interviewed by KSNV shared her frustration: 'The shuttle just stayed still and we were like, ‘oh my gosh, it’s gonna hit us, it’s gonna hit us!’ and then.. it hit us! And the shuttle didn’t have the ability to move back, either. Like, the shuttle just stayed still.'" Read more.


Wisconsin fights for its retired workers: Alison Henderson writes in Shepherd Express: "Kenneth Stribling retired from the trucking industry after more than 30 years of service. In the years since, however, the 65-year-old Teamster has been working overtime to fight for the retirement he was promised. Like 10 million others, he spent the majority of his career paying into a multiemployer pension fund, often negotiating wage cuts, no pay increase or other benefits, to safeguard his future. But in 2015, he received a letter stating that safeguard could be cut by 55 percent. He’s not alone. 'It would have been devastating,' said Stribling, whose pension is part of the Central States Pension Fund (CSPF). It would have affected his ability to help his children or care for his youngest grandson. His family would have had to downsize. 'When we first heard about the possible cuts, I went to work downsizing anyway, paying off debt, I paid my house off … just to be able to withstand that impact,' he said. With almost 400,000 members and more than 1,500 contributing employers across a variety of industries, CSPF was, until recently, the largest multiemployer pension fund in the nation. There are 25,000 CSPF participants in Wisconsin; almost 13,000 of them are retirees. Historically known for its ties to organized crime and investments in hotel and casino real estate, the fund was once considered flush and fail-proof, but within 10 years, it is projected to be insolvent and will be unable to pay any benefits to current or future retirees." Read more.

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U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, colleagues introduce legislation to expand services for LGBT seniors: Steve Lee of LGBT Weekly writes: "U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, along with Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Edward Markey (D-MA) and Al Franken (D-MN) today introduced the LGBT Elder Americans Act to improve services available for older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adults. This legislation would build on the Older Americans Act to include LGBT seniors as a vulnerable population and permanently establish the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. 'We should guarantee all of our seniors access to the care that truly meets their needs and so I am proud to advance this legislation that will improve services and support for LGBT older adults,' said Baldwin. 'Too many LGBT older adults carry the harmful physical and emotional health effects of having lived through a lifetime of discrimination. It is past time we do something about it and strengthen the Older Americans Act to better support our LGBT seniors.' 'Our laws and research are not current in addressing the unique needs of the aging generation of baby boomers,' said Sen. Bennet. “This legislation would provide LGBT seniors, who often face significant barriers to accessing health care, with targeted services and resources.” Read more.


5 out of 1,005 Americans polled used the word ‘cut’ to describe Trump’s tax plan: Emily Guskin and Scott Clement of the Washington Post write: "As Republicans readied the rollout of a tax overhaul plan last week, there was minor debate about the name. President Trump preferred dubbing it the 'Cut Cut Cut Act' according to ABC News, but GOP congressional leaders settled on 'Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.' Right before the Republicans’ plan was released, a Washington Post-ABC News poll asked a random sample of 1,005 Americans how they would describe Trump’s tax plan. They offered a wide variety of positive and negative words, but perhaps surprisingly, just five people mentioned the word 'cut.' The poll found 22 percent of Americans offering positive one-word descriptions of Trump’s tax plan, with 'fair' standing out as the most positive common word, named by 4 percent overall. Similar percentages used general positive terms such as 'good' (4 percent) 'excellent' or 'great,' at 2 percent each. Other Americans giving positive assessments described the plan as 'beneficial' or 'helpful' (2 percent said either) or 'needed,' while others expressed optimism about the plan as being 'hopeful' or 'promising.' Positive assessments of Trump’s plan also provided a hodgepodge of answers, including words such as 'relief,' 'equality,' 'growth' and 'stimulating,' though less than 1 percent mentioned the word 'cut.'” Read more.


First 'Dreamer' known deported under Trump arrested re-entering U.S. again, authorities say: CBS News reports: " An immigrant who had been shielded from deportation but was sent back to Mexico has been arrested for returning to the United States for the second time this year, authorities said Wednesday. Juan Manuel Montes, 23, was taken into custody near Calexico for illegally re-entering the United States late Monday night, the U.S. Border Patrol said in a statement. Montes was spotted by agents just north of a border fence, and ran from them for about 200 yards before laying down. He then attempted to get up again and run, but was quickly caught, the Border Patrol said. 'Border Patrol Agents will always stop, detain, and arrest anyone making an illegal entry into the country irrespective of their immigration or citizenship status,' the agency's statement said. According to his lawyers, Montes was the first-known participant in the five-year-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to be deported under President Trump. The program - which Mr. Trump announced in September he was ending - gave work permits and deportation protection to nearly 800,000 immigrants in the country illegally who were brought here as children. Its participants are sometimes known as 'dreamers.'" Read more.