Daily News Digest – April 16, 2018

Daily News Digest – April 16, 2018

1. Names narrowed down in State Superintendent search. 

  • Alabama should have a new state superintendent of schools by Friday.
  • Four finalists have been named: Jefferson County Superintendent Craig Pouncey, Hoover City Schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy, Superintendents’ Association of Alabama Executive Director Eric Mackey and former Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott.
  • State School Board members are scheduled to interview the finalists Thursday and vote to name a new State Superintendent on Friday.
  • Most seem to think Pouncey has the inside track here because of his close ties within the education establishment. His ongoing lawsuit against board member Mary Scott Hunter does make it a little awkward, though.
  • Some are saying Kathy Murphy from Hoover has a good shot, too.

Elephant in the room

  • Looming over this decision is the ongoing mess in Montgomery. Whomever becomes state superintendent will inherit a state intervention in Montgomery schools that by all accounts isn’t going well.
  • Interim State Superintendent Ed Richardson acknowledged that the Montgomery situation probably kept some quality candidates from applying for the state’s top education job.
  • When I asked Gov. Kay Ivey whether Montgomery would dominate the interview process, she reminded me that board members have already submitted their interview questions.
  • Board Member Stephanie Bell, who represents a portion of Montgomery, said asking candidates about the troubled system would be one of her priorities in the interview process.


2. AG candidates mix it up in Vestavia.

  • All four Republican candidates for Alabama Attorney General shared the stage for the first time this weekend at the Mid-Alabama Republican Club in Vestavia.
  • This is widely thought to be Alabama’s most competitive statewide race.
  • It is almost certain to go to a runoff between the top two candidates, and the difference between second and third could be pretty small.
  • Remember when Robert Bentley beat out Tim James by less than 200 votes to make the runoff against Bradley Byrne in 2010?? 
  • That competition plus the personalities involved makes this race extra scrappy.
  • Read Kim Chandler’s dispatch from the forum – the first of what I’m sure will be many dust-ups between the four candidates.

3. Sad news: Barbara Bush in failing health.

  • Former First Lady Barbara Bush is declining life-extending medical treatment amid failing health.
  • After a series of hospitalizations, the 92-year-old former first lady is receiving comfort care surrounded by family in Houston, Texas.
  • Only Barbara Bush and Abigail Adams hold the distinction of being both a wife and a mother to men who were President of the United States.
  • Adams and Bush also share a reputation for fierce independence on political issues.
  • Read more HERE.

4. Comey don’t play that.

  • By now you know Former FBI Director James Comey has written a book. It comes out tomorrow, but the excerpts are available online HERE.
  • If the rest of the book is anything like Comey’s interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Sunday, it’s going to be all-out political warfare between Comey and President Trump for the next few weeks.
  • Comey’s accusations aren’t subtle or really even coded. It’s a hugely significant story for the former Director of the FBI to say the Russians might have compromising information on the President of the United States.
  • Here’s the thing: Comey got fired. I know he isn’t trying to, but much of what he writes and says comes across as bitter and self-righteous.
  • Even if he’s right, Comey’s tone and attitude make him an easy target for those seeking to discredit him.
  • Also, I’m old enough to remember when Comey was persona non grata among liberals for confirming that Hillary Clinton was under FBI investigation in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election.
  • Now he has admitted that his belief that Clinton was going to win the election influenced how he handled that investigation.
  • Read more HERE.

5. News briefs.

  • After ordering missile attacks against the chemical weapons facilities of Syrian dictator Basha al-Assad, President Donald Trump now appears ready to levy new sanctions against Russia for enabling the Syrian regime. Good. Read more HERE.
  • R. Lee Ermey, who famously portrayed the Marine Corps drill instructor in Full Metal Jacket, has died. Read more HERE.
  • Dave Matthews Band, Common, Usher and several more famous performers are set to play Montgomery’s Riverwalk Amphitheater next weekend to mark the opening of the Equal Justice Initiative’s lynching museum. Read more HERE.
  • The Supreme Court is finally set to revisit a 1992 ruling that allowed online retailers like Amazon to largely avoid paying sales taxes. The lost revenue is a huge problem for state and local governments, which is why Alabama enacted a system to make sure some of that sales tax is paid. Read more HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Attorney General candidates make cases, sometimes clash at forum.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Four named finalist for State Superintendent.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Steve Flowers: Most incumbents should win.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Stacy column: Ryan’s retirement not a good sign for GOP.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Comey says it’s possible Russians have leverage over Trump.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: U.S. to hit Russia with new sanctions for aiding Syria’s Assad.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump pardons “Scooter” libby, says he was treated unfairly.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Montgomery Public Schools student, 18, runs two companies.

DOTHAN EAGLE – Need faster internet speeds? New law could help broadband connections expand in Wiregrass.

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Doug Jones addresses University of Alabama students on net neutrality — Argues to keep FCC over regulation of the Internet.

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Tennessee defunds Planned Parenthood, all abortion providers.

AL.COM – Saturday’s rain sets records in some Alabama cities.

AL.COM – Walter Leroy Moody seeks stay of execution for judge’s pipe bomb slaying.

AL.COM – Public displays of Ten Commandments divide candidates in Alabama governor’s race.

AL.COM – These Alabama built missiles were launched on Syria.

AL.COM – AG, Birmingham attorneys argue over Confederate memorial.

AL.COM – Woodfin tells Innovate Birmingham graduates ‘this community needs you’.

AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith:   Gov. Kay Ivey hopes to hide in plain sight until election day.

AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald:  There is no joy in Bama.

ATHENS NEWS COURIER – $1.8 million mistake forces county schools to dip into reserves.

CULLMAN TIMES – House Race, District 12: Harbison, Chaney weigh in on the issues.

TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Contributor State Sen. Greg Reed:  A few highlights from the 2018 legislative session.

TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Lawmakers assign $11M for children’s behavioral health services.

CULLMAN TIMES – Negotiation first instead of trade war.

LAGNIAPPE – Columnist Rob Holbert:  Disgusting outcome to Bentley grand jury.

ANNISTON STAR – The true costs of newsprint tariffs.

OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Experts hope to see decrease in youth sports injuries with new law.

WASHINGTON POST – Comey says Trump ‘morally unfit to be president,’ possibly susceptible to Russian blackmail.

WASHINGTON POST – Supreme Court considers whether states should have power to tax all online sales.

NEW YORK TIMES – Would Americans Accept Putting Health Care on a Budget?  The intuitive appeal of such a system is growing, and it’s getting a test in Maryland.

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