Good morning and Happy Friday! Here’s your Daily News for Friday, June 29, 2018.
1. The Supremes.
Go inside the biggest political event of the year from the following angles…
- Adam Liptak & Maggie Haberman of the New York Times have a fascinating story about how the White House may have gently coaxed Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement along in quiet, indirect ways.
- The man is 81 so he doesn’t need a reason to retire. But he might appreciate reassurances about his legacy, etc.
- Part and parcel to that is the fact that two former Kennedy clerks are on the short list to replace him: Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the DC Circuit and Judge Raymond Kethledge of the 5th Circuit.
- Others on the short list, according to Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard, include Judge Amul Thapar or the 6th Circuit, Judge Thomas Hardiman of the 3rd Circuit, and Judge Amy Barrett of the 7th Circuit. All of these candidates are in their late 40s/early 50s, meaning they could serve upwards of 20-30 years.
- Ramesh Ponnuru is making the case for Barrett because of her age (46), status as a woman (implications w/ Roe), and the fact senators would be hard pressed to deny her nomination having confirmed her just a year ago.
- Where is Judge Bill Pyror? He’s on there, too. And maybe it’s good for him that so many are focused on the others.
- The president doesn’t want to waste any time. According to Politico, Trump could nominate Kennedy’s replacement within two weeks.
- Everybody knows who the swing votes are in the Senate: red state Democrats (Manchin, Jones, Donnelly, Heitkamp) and moderate Republican women (Collins, Murkowski).
- President Trump dined with all of them (minus Sen. Doug Jones) at the White House last night, signaling his charm offensive is in full swing.
- That from CNN reporter and Prattville, Alabama native Kaitlan Collins.
See how much you know now?? Your friends will be so impressed this weekend.
2. Maryland shooting deadly, scary.
- A man armed with a shotgun and smoke grenades shot up the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland yesterday.
- Here’s what we know…
- Five people were killed and two were wounded.
- The assailant is 38-year old Jarrod Ramos. He was arrested by police and charged with five counts of first degree murder.
- Ramos had a long-running beef with the paper going back at least to 2011. He even sued the Gazette for defamation unsuccessfully in 2012.
- Read more in USA Today.
- That last fact is chilling for any journalist who has ever received hate mail from readers, which is to say all of them.
- This guy was obviously disturbed, but who is to say others out there aren’t, too?
- There are increased protections to news outlets in the wake of the attack. Police could be seen outside The New York Times, ABC News and Fox News yesterday.
3. Improvements and room to grow in education, well-being
- Alabama has received its highest ever overall ranking in the KIDS COUNT Data Book, which measures health, education, and of children.
- Our state ranked 42 overall. We were 42nd in education, 38th in health, and 37th in economic well-being. Read and watch more from WSFA HERE.
- Notably, Alabama improved by three points in fourth grade reading proficiency since 2009.
- Rhonda Mann of VOICES for Alabama Children credits First Class Pre-K among the factors in the improvements.
- Read the whole report for yourself HERE.
- And speaking of education, a big congratulations to Chasity Collier of Dawes Intermediate School in Mobile for winning the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science teaching – the nation’s highest honor for teachers.
- She was honored at a White House reception this week and will receive a $10,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.
4. Getting it done.
Don’t look know, but Congress is being pretty productive.
At the risk of jinxing it, I’ll just point out a few big ticket items that are moving or already done…
- After enacting an omnibus spending plan that nobody really liked, both chambers seem motivated to get the job done on Congress’ most fundamental constitutional responsibility.
- The House passed its Defense Appropriations bill yesterday. The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved each of the 12 spending titles. That’s a feat, and shows Shelby was serious about reforming the appropriations culture. Even Sen. Leahey is heaping praise on the process.
- The Senate passed the Farm Bill yesterday. The House passed its version earlier this week.
- The two bills have a lot of differences, but those are likely to get worked out.
- Farm Bills are supposed to be enacted every five years and they’re no small lift given the disparate interests. Last time, Congress stumbled its way through it and took an extra year or so to get it done.
- A meaningful VA reform bill was passed and signed earlier this year.
- It provides $55 billion for veterans to seek private care when the VA isn’t meeting their needs and revamps the system by which that works.
- A Dodd-Frank reform bill passed earlier this year. It sought to keep the good banking regulations passed in the wake of the 2009 crisis and do away with the ones that went too far and hurt lenders and small businesses.
- Besides the tax cuts, the banking reform bill is probably the biggest economic policy win you can credit to Congress this term.
- The elephant in the room is immigration.
- I remain pessimistic that Congress can enact a comprehensive immigration reform plan before the midterms. But, they could probably get a child separation bill done, which isn’t nothing.
Anyway, add in a couple of Supreme Court confirmations (again with the jinxing), and this might turn out to be a pretty productive two year term on Capitol Hill.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Former Majority Leader Micky Hammon released from prison.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Spotlight turns to GOP women, red state Democrats in Supreme Court fight.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump-Putin meeting to follow NATO gathering at tense moment.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Gunman kills 5 in attack targeting Maryland newspaper.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House backs $675 billion spending bill for Pentagon.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House Republicans grill FBI, Justice leaders on Russia probe.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Strong storms leave thousands without power.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Unipres announces $40 million expansion, to create 70 jobs.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – U.S. House District 2 runoff: 5 questions for Bobby Bright.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Contributor Leah Nelson: For everyone’s sake, Alabama must do more for people with mental Illness.
DOTHAN EAGLE – Local farmer pleads guilty to crop insurance scam.
DOTHAN EAGLE – Cooperative that provides Dothan Utilities its power says Alabama Power is charging too much for electricity.
DECATUR DAILY – DU joins barrage of lawsuits alleging price-fixing by chemical companies.
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – ABC approves curbside pickup.
GADSDEN TIMES – Court vacancy ensures wild summer in Washington.
ANNISTON STAR – What does it mean to go to back of immigration line?
AL.COM – Civil rights groups oppose nomination of Alabama solicitor general to federal judgeship.
AL.COM – Rep. Alvin Holmes says he’s still an effective legislator.
AL.COM – House approves 3 more Littoral Combat Ships; negotiations remain.
AL.COM – Bradley Byrne weighing challenge to Democratic Sen. Doug Jones.
AL.COM – Alabama Supreme Court won’t release letter about Jim Zeigler law license surrender.
AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Robinson scandal is the sweet spot on Big Mules’ Death Star.
AL.COM – Small electric systems challenge Alabama Power’s rates, request refund.
AL.COM – Rail Commission apologizes, while former member continues to attack Alabama governor.
AL.COM – Baldwin officials push to remove county from migrant camp consideration.
AL.COM – Secret garden house to be razed as Homewood’s popularity soars.
AL.COM – Contributor U. S. Rep. Mo Brooks: I’ve never advocated to separate ‘illegal alien’ children.
WASHINGTON POST – After newsroom shootings, a quick collapse into blame and division.
WASHINGTON POST – ‘Everyone is focused on Lisa and Susan’: The two most powerful senators in the fight to replace Kennedy.
WASHINGTON POST – Senate overwhelmingly passes sweeping farm bill, setting up fight with House.
WASHINGTON POST – Rep. Maxine Waters cancels events after ‘very serious death threat’.
NEW YORK TIMES – Conservative Lawyers Steer Trump on Supreme Court Pick
NEW YORK TIMES – The Senate Finally Wants to Pay Its Interns