Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, January 21.
1. Biden takes office
- Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States Wednesday, declaring that “democracy has prevailed” and summoning American resilience and unity to confront the deeply divided nation’s historic confluence of crises.
- Denouncing a national “uncivil war,” Biden took the oath at a U.S. Capitol that had been battered by an insurrectionist siege just two weeks earlier. Then, taking his place in the Oval Office, he plunged into a stack of executive actions, including a re-entry into the Paris Climate Accords, a halt to border wall construction and a mandate for wearing masks on federal property.
- “We have much to do in this winter of peril, and significant possibilities. Much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build and much to gain,” Biden said. “Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged, or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now.”
- The day began with a reach across the political aisle after four years of bitter partisan battles. At Biden’s invitation, congressional leaders from both parties bowed their heads in prayer in the socially distanced service a few blocks from the White House.
- In the evening, in lieu of the traditional balls that welcome a new president to Washington, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris appeared separately at the Lincoln Memorial to take part in a televised concert with Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The Bidens ended their evening watching fireworks from a White House balcony.
- Former President Donald Trump was the first president in more than a century to skip the inauguration of his successor. After a brief farewell celebration at nearby Joint Base Andrews, he boarded Air Force One for the final time as president.
- “I will always fight for you. I will be watching. I will be listening and I will tell you that the future of this country has never been better,” said Trump. He wished the incoming administration well but never mentioned Biden’s name.
- Trump did adhere to one tradition and left a personal note for Biden in the Oval Office. Biden would only tell reporters that it was “a very generous letter.”
- Read more and watch Biden’s full inaugural address HERE.
2. Henry talks about his pardon
- It was big and kind of surprising news yesterday that Ed Henry, a former state representative from Hartselle, was included on a list of last minute pardons from the outgoing Trump administration.
- Henry was sentenced in May 2019 to two years of probation for his role in a health care fraud case. He pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting theft of government property as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors.
- Prosecutors said doctors agreed to improperly waive co-pays for certain Medicare patients with chronic conditions who enrolled in care management services provided by Henry’s company, MyPractice24. Waiving the required co-pays meant Medicare likely paid for services patients did not need or would have refused if they had to pay the $8 co-pay.
- ADN’s Mary Sell caught up with Henry by phone yesterday to ask about the pardon and get his account on how it all came about.
- Read her full story HERE.
3. Health officials urge Ivey to extend Alabama’s mask order
- Health officials want Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to extend a state mask order that is set to expire Friday as limited national supply hinders the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations.
- Ivey is expected to announce whether she will extend the order during a Thursday news conference. The statewide mask order has been in place since July. Dr. Don Williamson, the former state health officer who now heads the Alabama Hospital Association, said the group is among those recommending an extension.
- “While there has been some improvement in the hospital situation, there are still many more people in hospital than at the height of the surge in July. The continued significant levels of hospitalization, coupled with the emergence of more infectious variations, make mask-wearing even more urgent,” Williamson said.
- Dr. Sarah Nafziger, vice president of Clinical Support Services at UAB Medicine, told reporters Tuesday that she hopes Ivey extends the order.
- “The masks are still very, very important,” Nafziger said. “How long will we need to do that? I don’t know. It depends how quickly we get those vaccine doses and how quickly we can get them administered.”
- Full story from Kim Chandler HERE.
4. Stocks are rallying
- Global shares mostly rose Thursday on optimism over the new U.S. administration that earlier set off a rally on Wall Street.
- France’s CAC 40 gained 0.4% in early trading to 5,648.29, while Germany’s DAX rose 0.6% to 14,003.82. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged up nearly 0.2% to 6,753.08. U.S. shares were set to drift higher with Dow futures up nearly 0.1% at 31,116.5. S&P 500 futures rose 0.2% to 3,850.62.
- Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.8% to finish at 28,756.86. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.8% to 6,823.70, while South Korea’s Kospi edged up 1.5% to 3,160.84. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.1% to 29,927.76, while the Shanghai Composite added 1.1% to 3,621.26.
- Biden has pitched a plan to pump $1.9 trillion more into the struggling economy, hoping to act quickly as his Democratic party now controls the White House and both houses of Congress.
- The hope on Wall Street is that such stimulus will help carry the economy until later this year, when more widespread COVID-19 vaccinations get daily life closer to normal.
- “Most of Wall Street is assuming that the second half (of 2021) is when we will see pent-up demand start to show up in the economy, and that will push economic indicators higher and will likely cause a ramp up in earnings projections,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA.
- “The market is up more than 13% since Election Day,” Stovall said.
- Full story HERE.
5. Inside Alabama Politics
- A new administration, a new approach for Alabama;
- Latest on House and Senate Committees;
- Great Space Command news triggers haunting memories;
- Tracking Richard Shelby;
- Planning for the legislative session;
- State of the State changes;
- How businesses are affected by prolonged high unemployment;
- ALGOP resolution opposing Cheney to be considered next month;
- Moving up and moving out at BCA;
- More Potpourri.
INSIDE ALABAMA POLITICS – January 21, 2020
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden takes the helm, appeals for unity to take on crises
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Henry: Trump’s pardon a ‘vindication’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Health officials urge Ivey to extend Alabama’s mask order
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Global shares mostly up on optimism for stimulus from Biden
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump wishes new administration luck in farewell video
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Thousands flocking to virus vaccination sites across Alabama
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmakers call on ADPH to fix ‘kink’ in vaccine recording
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – January 20, 2021
AL.COM – Alabama to take vaccine doses from providers that don’t give it out fast enough
AL.COM – Tuberville raises ‘serious concerns’ on Biden halting border wall construction
AL.COM – Alabama congressmen who joined Biden challenge reach out to new administration
AL.COM – Montgomery mayor Steven Reed under fire for tweet about Trump ‘trash’
AL.COM – Koch Foods $16 million expansion in Alabama will bring 135 new jobs
AL.COM – Federal lawsuit claims Alabama Democratic Party diluted Black voting influence with 2019 changes
AL.COM – Why police officers and firefighters are getting COVID-19 shots before Alabama teachers
AL.COM – COVID hospitalizations see dramatic drop in north Alabama
AL.COM – Alabama Republicans who opposed election results face corporate donation losses
Montgomery Advertiser – Outdoor events venues planned for Montgomery’s historic Newtown community
Montgomery Advertiser – Newtown redevelopment ground breaking
Montgomery Advertiser – Levee construction progresses in Prattville’s ‘Gin Shop’ project
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Finding a free COVID test difficult in Cullman area
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – ADPH sending COVID-19 specimen to CDC for mutant strain sequencing
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Investigation underway after body found in abandoned house fire
Tuscaloosa News – Production facility to bring more than 100 jobs to Sulligent
Tuscaloosa News – Arrests made in recent attempted murder investigations in Tuscaloosa
Tuscaloosa News – Biden plans 17 executive orders on student loans, wearing masks and more. See the list
Decatur Daily – Last-minute suspense: Ed Henry gets Trump’s final pardon and ‘vindication’
Decatur Daily – Alcohol license approved for W. Moulton Street store operator
Decatur Daily – Some local residents support Biden’s call for unity, but others wary
Times Daily – Couple rounds of rain heading into Shoals tonight
Times Daily – Sheffield library, senior center getting new roofs
Times Daily – Pedestrian struck, killed Tuesday night identified
Anniston Star – Chick-fil-A in the works at Oxford Exchange
Anniston Star – Former EMA director Michael Barton sworn in as JSU police chief
YellowHammer News – Flatbed trucking company CRST investing $5.14M in expansion of presence in Birmingham
YellowHammer News – Biden’s first hours as president could cost Alabama a congressional seat, Electoral College vote
YellowHammer News – Joe Biden, Kamala Harris sworn into office
Gadsden Times – GECEMA, health department planning how to provide second shot of COVID-19 vaccine
Gadsden Times – COVID vaccines: Agencies try to balance supply, demand, distribution
Gadsden Times – Etowah commission seeking help in loss of CARES money
Dothan Eagle – Homeless woman admits to setting Burdeshaw Street house on fire
Dothan Eagle – ADPH clearing up ‘misunderstandings’ about vaccine efforts
Dothan Eagle – Glaucoma can cause years of damage before detected
Opelika-Auburn News – New COVID-19 cases in east Alabama remain steady
Opelika-Auburn News – Local restaurateur brings slices of Italy to downtown Opelika
Opelika-Auburn News – Where you can get a COVID-19 test locally
WSFA Montgomery – 2 children taken from N.Y. town foster home found in Montgomery
WSFA Montgomery – ADPH sending COVID-19 specimen to CDC for mutant strain sequencing
WSFA Montgomery – Prattville pastor dies from COVID-19
WAFF Huntsville – Can your workplace require you to get a COVID-19 vaccine?
WAFF Huntsville – Crime Stoppers: Police say items were stolen out of a car
WAFF Huntsville – Officers’ actions ruled justified in Five Points deadly standoff; mother wants answers
WKRG Mobile – Mobile Police remain on alert following Inauguration
WKRG Mobile – Trump pardons former state lawmaker Ed Henry
WKRG Mobile – Poet Amanda Gorman earns instant praise for stirring inaugural poem, ‘The Hill We Climb’
WTVY Dothan – ARCH begins 2021 homeless count in Dothan this weekend
WTVY Dothan – COVID-19 in Alabama: 1,904 new confirmed cases on Wednesday
WTVY Dothan – COVID-19 vaccine scams on the rise as vaccine distribution continues
WASHINGTON POST – Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president, pleads for unity in inaugural address to a divided nation
WASHINGTON POST – Biden pledges to defeat extremism and culture of lies as he confronts Trump’s legacy
WASHINGTON POST – On his first day, Biden signs executive orders to reverse Trump’s policies
NEW YORK TIMES – Biden Inaugurated as the 46th President Amid a Cascade of Crises
NEW YORK TIMES – On Day 1, Biden Moves to Undo Trump’s Legacy
NEW YORK TIMES – A Call for Unity to a Nation Facing a Pandemic and Division
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Joe Biden Calls on Nation to ‘Start Afresh’ at Inauguration as 46th President
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Rise as Tech Leads Charge
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Biden’s Agenda Depends on Success in Curbing Covid-19 Pandemic