Good morning and Happy Friday! Here’s your Daily News for August 10, 2018.
1. Sigh of relief: Brookwood, CMS reach deal.
- Brookwood Baptist Hospital is no longer in “immediate jeopardy status” and will not have its Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements revoked. At least not anytime soon.
- Surveyors from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare finished their work late yesterday and accepted the hospital’s improvement plans.
- This is a relief on many levels. Losing Medicare & Medicaid reimbursements would have made it very hard for Brookwood to survive, causing problems for patients, the hospital industry, and the Birmingham economy.
- Here’s part of the statement CEO Keith Parriott released last night:
We are pleased to report that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) survey has concluded, and Brookwood Baptist Medical Center’s action plan has been accepted.
We will continue to fully participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs without interruption. There is more work ahead, and we will be resurveyed in the future, but we are no longer in immediate jeopardy status.
2. Maddox gets clever.
- Democratic candidate for governor Walt Maddox is taking a new approach to challenging Gov. Kay Ivey to a debate.
- An online video released yesterday shows an empty “debate” podium and features a narrator posing questions to the governor that Maddox is conveniently present to answer.
- In addition to pressing the debate challenge, it is clearly meant to “flip the script” on the issues of abortion, gun rights, and President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee – issues Team Ivey has been hammering Maddox on these last few weeks.
- It’s a clever tactic and one that’s likely to get plenty of traction online.
- Here’s the problem: it might be too clever by half.
- These issues probably aren’t winners for Maddox in the long run.
- While passable for a minute-long internet video, his answers aren’t exactly thorough and really just beget more questions. When does life begin? When is abortion okay and when is it not? What actions can the state take to enforce assault weapon restrictions?
- For voters who really care about abortion and guns, the details about what you believe matter a great deal.
- The other thing is this: it will be hard to Maddox to later claim these issues are unimportant / irrelevant now that he has proactively brought them up.
- It’s generally unwise to fight battles on your opponent’s turf, which is why I was a little surprised by this tactic from Team Maddox. But maybe I’m wrong.
- Watch the video and decide for yourself HERE.
3. Sotomayor lays keel on latest Austal ship.
- U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor was at Austal USA in Mobile yesterday for the keel-laying ceremony for the new USNS Puerto Rico.
- Sotomayor is of Puerto Rican descent. She offered remarks about her Puerto Rican family members serving in the Armed Forces growing up.
- “I hereby declare that the keel of the future United States Naval Ship Puerto Rico has been truly and fairly laid,” she said.
- The ship is Austal’s newest Expeditionary Fast Transport, or EFT.
- According to the Navy Sea Systems Command, the 103-meter (338-foot) aluminum ships “are versatile, non-combatant vessels designed to operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, increasing operational flexibility for a wide range of activities including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations in small or damaged ports, flexible logistics support, or as the key enabler for rapid transport.”
- The U.S. Navy purchased 12 EFTs from Austal in a contract worth $1.9 billion. The USNS Puerto Rico is the 11th in that order.
- Read more from Lawrence Speckler.
4. Pence talks Space Force.
- Sorry I just can’t write about Space Force and not use a Star Wars GIF.
- Vice President Mike Pence went to the Pentagon yesterday to outline the Trump Administration’s plans for a standalone military branch for space.
- Right now the Air Force handles most space-related military activities, and many don’t believe that’s the right strategy for the future.
- Pence gave a shoutout to Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal, which didn’t go unnoticed by local Congressman Mo Brooks. He and Congressman Mike Rogers had nice things to say about Pence’s Space Force speech.
- The idea still has a long way to go – like getting through Congress – but it could mean big things for Alabama’s economy and workforce.
- Read more HERE.
5. News Briefs.
- Alabama is one of the few states that does not make public the disciplinary actions a doctor has undergone.
- That would include sexual assault or misconduct charges.
- This comes in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the Larry Nassar gymnastics scandal.
- My friend Anna Claire Vollers did a deep dive into this issue and found some scary incidents. Her story is worth your time this morning.
FLOTUS family naturalized
- President Trump’s in-laws became U.S. citizens yesterday.
- Melania Trump’s parents got naturalized after the first lady herself sponsored their bid for citizenship.
- They are from Slovenia.
- The White House has sought to reform the visa-to-citizenship process they used, sometimes called “chain migration.”
Kavanaugh White House documents released
- The documents Senate Democrats have been clamoring to see as part of the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation process are finally public. Or at least some of them.
- Some 5,700 pages of records were released yesterday and every one is getting put under the microscope.
- One early criticism is that Kavanuagh appears to have understated his involvement in Bush White House terror interrogation policies during his confirmation hearings in 2006.
- Expect to hear a lot more about that.
Good for Decatur
- Decatur City Schools has banned cell phones from the classroom beginning this year.
- Part of the reason why is the students are moving to Chromebooks and that takes away any need for communications devices.
- Deangelo McDaniel of the Decatur Daily reports that Superintendent Michael Douglas gets a standing ovation every time he mentions the new policy to parent groups.
- Read his story HERE.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Maddox launches video on debate challenge.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama lawmakers support Space Force plans.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bentley’s back: Scandal-tarnished ex-governor touts record on new website.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Forecasters now expect less active Atlantic hurricane season.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Decatur bans cell phones from some classrooms.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Prosecutors shift focus to fraud charges in Manafort trial.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – DEA raids physician’s office outed by pill mill doc.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Contributor Vanzetta McPherson: Cult of hate poses danger for everyone.
DECATUR DAILY – Morgan schools add more layers of security.
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – Solar farms get 10-year tax abatement.
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Maddox launches video on debate challenge.
ANNISTON STAR – Alex Jones banned — When free speech butts heads with media standards.
AL.COM – Sexual misconduct by doctors: Alabama law keeps patients in the dark.
AL.COM – Alabama pushes to bring God back into public schools, from ‘In God We Trust’ to Ten Commandments.
AL.COM – Mercedes-Benz SUVs held up by Chinese customs.
AL.COM – U.S. Supreme Court’s Sotomayor sponsors Austal ship, visits Mobile for ceremony.
AL.COM – Pence praises Alabama’s Redstone Arsenal, says Space Force coming by 2020.
AL.COM – These Alabama artists are featured in one of the most famous museums in the world
AL.COM – Alabama lawmaker’s bill would move school start date closer to Labor Day.
AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith: No debate that Gov. Kay Ivey isn’t corrupt or crazy.
WASHINGTON POST – Judge halts mother-daughter deportation, threatens to hold Sessions in contempt.
WASHINGTON POST – Trump administration proposes further dismantling of Affordable Care Act through Medicare.
WASHINGTON POST – New Kavanaugh documents prompt partisan debate over vetting.
WASHINGTON POST – Former Alabama governor attempts comeback on social media.
NEW YORK TIMES – At ‘America First Energy Conference’, Solar Power Is Dumb, Climate Change Is Fake
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump’s Tariffs on Canadian Newsprint Hasten Local Newspapers’ Demise.
NEW YORK TIMES – Melania Trump’s Parents Become U.S. Citizens, Using ‘Chain Migration’ Trump Hates.