Daily News Digest – January 29, 2018

Good morning from Washington, D.C, where the weather is brisk and decidedly un-swamp-like!  This is your Alabama Daily News digest for Monday, January 29, 2018.

1. Trump’s big moment

Photo credit: Hal Yeager

Well that’s silly. Trump’s big moment? If we have learned anything over the last two years it is that Donald Trump’s presence on the political stage is never-ending. Whether you like it or not, they are all Trump’s moments.

Still, Tuesday’s State of the Union is a big opportunity for the president. Here are a few reasons why:

Immigration

  • At a time when negotiations seem to have broken down a bit on a DACA-for-Wall agreement, President Trump gets the power of the bully pulpit to lay out his argument.
  • And guess what? Most Americans want both increased border security and a solution that doesn’t see a million immigrants who were brought here as children suddenly deported.  So, if he sticks to the script, he might sound pretty reasonable, especially in comparison to Democrats who are planning all manner of related protests.

Economic momentum

  • You’d expect this to be the mother of all victory laps for the last year of economic success under Trump’s watch. Unemployment is way down, companies continue to hand out goodies in response to the tax reform bill, and the stock market’s amazing performance is freaking everybody out.
  • If he is true to form, there will be a lot of “I told you people I knew what I was doing.” Most hack speechwriters like me would try to convey the message in a more conciliatory tone that seeks to share the credit and encourage more teamwork. But, yeah right! Who are we kidding?

Infrastructure

ISIS

  • When is the last time the fight with ISIS led the nightly news? The war isn’t over by any means. But, American and coalition forces have ISIS on the run. Expect the president to tout these victories.

AXIOS co-founer Mike Allen says to expect Trump’s “inside voice” at this year’s State of the Union. So, what do I know?

I’ll be visiting with some Members of the Alabama Congressional Delegation and their staffs this week to get their thoughts and reactions, so look for that later this week.

2. Jeff Sessions’ turbulent year

3. Headlines 

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – ‘Violence affects everybody’: Spike in Montgomery homicides mirrored across state.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Rural Health project draws praise.

OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – State bill could introduce more scholarship funding for two-year programs.

AL.COM – Conference on possible opioid settlement coming this week.

AL.COM – Chatting with State House Minority leader: the Dem’s agenda, gov’s race, teaching third-graders.

AL.COM – Peeping toms with cell phones: Video voyeurism not illegal in Alabama, but for how much longer?

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Alabama cyber security programs ramp up amid rising threats.

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Addiction expert warns of ‘silent epidemic’ from anti-anxiety drugs.

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Editor Pepper Bryars:  If Sen. Doug Jones wants to represent a majority of Alabamians, he should moderate his pro-choice position.

AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire:  AG’s office investigating lawmakers’ campaign accounts.

AL.COM – Columnist John Hammontree:  Keep the momentum moving forward: Fund Gov. Ivey’s pre-K increase.

AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald:  What it means to be from Birmingham.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Why Trump’s desire to fire Mueller may invite obstruction case and why it’s such a big deal.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Contributor Vanzetta McPherson:  Baby Boomers, let the new order lead

DOTHAN EAGLE – The Dothan Eagle:  Reconsidering the death penalty.

ATHENS NEWS COURIER – Expedia names Mooresville a ‘must-see’ city.

CULLMAN TIMES – New DUI bill would mean drastic changes.

CULLMAN TIMES – The Cullman Times:  Inappropriate words, actions.

DECATUR DAILY – Cost should not outweigh voice of the people.

TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Jeff Sessions weathers turbulent year as attorney general.

DECATUR DAILY – New car plant creates hopes for Decatur’s residential growth.

FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – The Times Daily:  Special elections bill a case of sour grapes.

FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – Officials hoping elections attract voters.

ANNISTON STAR – Alabama gets low marks for fighting corruption, and candidates for state office can’t seem to talk about anything else.

ANNISTON STAR – The Anniston Star:  Free speech on campus.

DOTHAN EAGLE – For Olson, memories of tragedy still vivid.

WASHINGTON POST – Immigration proposal contains bitter pills for both sides.

NEW YORK TIMES – As Gridlock Deepens in Congress, Only Gloom Is Bipartisan

WASHINGTON POST – Contributor Joe Scarborough:  Even now, Republicans are ignoring the storm clouds.

NEW YORK TIMES – Kochs Warm to Trump Policies, Not Behavior

NEW YORK TIMES – Oil Boom Gives the U.S. a New Edge in Energy and Diplomacy

 THE ATLANTIC – Trump’s State of the Union Will Be an Economic Victory Lap

Front Pages (images link to newspaper websites)