Daily News Digest – April 18, 2018

Daily News Digest – April 18, 2018

 Good morning! Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, April 18.

1. Rest in Peace, Barbara Bush. 

As you have heard by now, former First Lady Barbara Bushpassed away last night.

A lot is being written and said about this remarkable woman, and rightfully so. Here are a few of my favorites.

I also compiled a list of local, state and national reactions to Mrs. Bush’s passing, which you can read HERE.

They include some touching tribute photographs and videos, plus comments Alabama’s congressional delegation and Gov. Kay Ivey.

I also got reactions from some who knew Mrs. Bush on a more personal level: Business Council of Alabama CEO Billy Canary, who reflects on her life from having worked in the White House while she was first lady, and Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Latham, who interacted with her through her work with the Republican National Committee.

If you knew Mrs. Bush and have a story you’d like to share about it, please send it on! Just reply to this email or if you’re reading online email todd@ALDailyNews.com.

2. Gov’s new campaign ad stokes debate, and maybe that’s the point?

What Happened

  • The Kay Ivey for Governor campaign has released a new TV ad touting her support and signature of a bill to stop cities from tearing down Confederate monuments.
  • Ivey attempts to frame the issue as Alabama vs. Washington by saying “We can’t change or erase our history. But here in Alabama we know something Washington doesn’t – to get where we’re going means understanding where we’ve been.”
  • You can watch it for yourself HERE.

How’s that going

  • Not surprisingly, many are unhappy about this new ad.
  • This was already a touchy subject. Last year, Birmingham attempted to follow suit behind other southern cities like New Orleans and Charlottesville to remove Confederate statues and emblems.
  • The Legislature passed a bill to prevent that and Ivey signed it into law. Now, the city has a big black box covering the base of one of the monuments so people cannot read the inscriptions.
  • The timing is also awkward because it comes as many national figures and celebrities are coming to Montgomery for the opening of the new lynching memorial.

The politics at play

  • Why is Team Ivey choosing to rock the boat on this issue? Why not just keep talking about record employment, teacher pay raises, not being Bentley, etc?
  • Well, those are good issues, but they’re also boring. This new ad is going to get LOTS of news coverage, in print, online and on television.
  • I saw some polling about a year ago that suggested preserving historical monuments and resisting political pressure to whitewash Confederate history polls very well with GOP voters in Alabama.
  • My sense is Ivey’s campaign knows that and figures this message can shore up support within the base.
  • Also, picking a fight with liberals is generally helpful for candidates appealing to a conservative base.
  • Remember the Tim James ad from 2010 saying immigrants should learn English if they want to live here? He was [hilariously] mocked nationally, but in Alabama he shot to the top of the polls.

What’s Next

  • I think this gets some national attention before it’s over. Maybe a lot of it.
  • If Common or Usher or Dave Matthews get on stage in Montgomery and call out the governor, that’s going to be a big deal.
  • There’s also the issue of how far to dig in.
  • When Tennessee did the same thing and blocked Memphis from tearing down statues in public parks, city officials got smart and sold the parks to private foundations to make it legal. Now, Tennessee is stripping state money from the city.

3. Movement on NoKo.

  • Twitter lit up last night night when President Trump answered “yes” to a reporter asking whether he had personally spoken to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
  • Turns out, the president misunderstood the question and he has not personally spoken with Kim.
  • But guess who has? CIA Director Mike Pompeo!
  • Pompeo also happens to be going through the confirmation process to become the next Secretary of State.
  • That could be why this got leaked, first to The Washington Postand then to the Associated Press.
  • If Pompeo is already engaged in top-level negotiations with our most threatening enemy, how can Senators not confirm him as Secretary of State?
  • Read more HERE.

4. Supreme Court not that into striking online sales tax rule. 

  • When the U.S. Supreme Court decided to take up the South Dakota case that could change the way online retailers account for state and local sales tax, most assumed the Court was ready to act where Congress had refused to.
  • But, during oral arguments yesterday, the justices didn’t seem all that enthusiastic about striking down a previous ruling.
  • From AP:

Chief Justice John Roberts pointed to briefs suggesting the problem of sales tax collection “has peaked” and may be “diminishing rather than expanding.” ”Why doesn’t that suggest that there are greater significance to the arguments” that the court should leave its current rule in place, he asked.

  • Remember: Alabama created a system by which out-of-state online retailers can voluntarily remit sales tax. That has always seemed like in their best interest should the Court’s ruling force any back taxes.
  • There’s probably no reason to freak out, though. It looks like justices Gorsuch, Ginsburg, Thomas and Kennedy are ready to rewrite the court’s previous precedent and help states out. One more justice and you’re there.
  • Read more HERE.

5. Looking at local school taxes. 

  • One looming issue in the mess within Montgomery Public Schools is inadequate funding.
  • Every time someone has a plan to improve public schools, whether through a state intervention or proliferation of school choice, many gripe about a lack funding at the local level.
  • They’re not wrong. The Montgomery Advertiser’s Andrew Yawn takes a deep dive into the funding issue in a front page story that is worth your time this morning.
  • Most, including Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange and Interim State Superintendent Ed Richardson agree that better funding is needed.
  • They point out, however, that previous referenda to raise ad valorem taxes have failed.
  • It’s a cart/horse thing. Many residents would refuse to give one more dime of their money to a school board that can’t get its act together.
  • By the way, Andrew Yawn & Brian Edwards of the Advertiser are inviting folks to come by tonight and join their “off the record” AMA discussion at Goat Haus Beirgaten in Downtown Montgomery. If you’re in the area, consider stopping by.

Headlines.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Former First Lady Barbara Bush dies at 92.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: ‘It smells like death:’ Alabama town endures NYC ‘poop train’

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Gov. Ivey campaign ad praises Confederate monument law.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Hyundai Power Transformers $33 million expansion will add 86 jobs.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Williams, Connors to appear in federal court.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: ‘Mockingbird’ Broadway producer sues Harper Lee Estate.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: High court worries about abandoning online sales tax rule.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – As GOP balks, McConnell shuts down bill to protect Mueller.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ahead of summit, CIA chief secretly meets with North Korea’s Kim.

DECATUR DAILY – State board of education likely to spend more on next superintendent.

TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Spike in violent crimes this year is troubling.

GADSDEN TIMES – Legislative candidates stress infrastructure at forum.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Birmingham: Box around Confederate obelisk doesn’t break law.

OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Lawmakers, business community members mingle at legislative reception.

DOTHAN EAGLE – Dothan City Schools getting security guards and $543,000 in security upgrades.

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Americans want Republicans, not Democrats to run the economy.

AL.COM – Kayla Moore criticizes Pulitzers for Roy Moore sex abuse coverage.

AL.COM – Hyundai working with usage-based insurance for drivers.

AL.COM – Sessions announces seizure of enough fentanyl to kill 250,000 people.

AL.COM – Alabama governor says state shouldn’t ‘erase or tear down’ Confederate monuments.

AL.COM – Mo Brooks’ challenger Clayton Hinchman wants series of debates.

AL.COM – Mike Rogers outraises ex-Miss America Mallory Hagan by 3-to-1 in East Alabama House race

AL.COM – Gov. Kay Ivey, Tommy Battle to travel to Japan to meet with Toyota, Mazda officials.

AL.COM – First U.S. Bancshares to acquire The Peoples Bank.

ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – Auditor’s Office is being evicted from Alabama State House.

WASHINGTON POST – Trump sours on talking with Mueller after FBI raid of lawyer’s office.

WASHINGTON POST – Barbara Bush, matriarch of American political dynasty, dies at 92.

WASHINGTON POST – Contributor Christopher Buskirk:  The conservative renaissance has begun.

WASHINGTON POST – IRS to delay tax deadline by one day after technology collapse.

WASHINGTON POST – Divided Supreme Court says part of immigration law used for deportation too vague.

WASHINGTON POST – Sessions proposes plan to limit amount of opioids manufacturers can produce.

Front pages (Images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit and patronize)