Good morning and Happy Friday! Here’s your Daily News for July 27, 2018.
1. Congress: TCB
Congress was taking care of business this week before leaving town for the August recess.
- The House passed and sent to the president’s desk an updated and reformed Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.
- This bill funds and supports the nation’s workforce development programs, including at the Alabama Community College System.
- It has been 17 years since Congress last updated the Perkins career tech law, and a lot has changed in workforce development since then.
- Congressman Bradley Byrne was right when he said the bill “won’t get the attention it deserves” with all the political bickering in Washington, but it’s a big bi-partisan win on something that matters.
- The House also passed the conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act.
- That means it is one Senate vote away from the president’s desk, and Congress can cross this annual lift off the to-do list.
- With all of Alabama’s military installations and defense industries, the NDAA is bigly important to our state.
- For example, the bill authorizes three Navy LCS ships, which are built by AUSTAL USA in Mobile, and $1.2 billion for missile defense at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville.
- You may remember the Senate isn’t taking a recess this year. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cancelled the break in order to overcome Democratic procedural obstacles by dedicating all available time toward taking care of business.
- That means confirming judges and passing appropriations bills.
- Speaking of judges, it looks like hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, could begin within a month.
- SCOTUS Blog has a good rundown of the latest state of play on that front, if you’re interested.
2. ‘Dega Upgrade.
- If you ain’t first, you’re last.
- Steering to stay ahead of the competition, Talladega Superspeedway announced Thursday it will invest more than $50 million into renovations that will “take Talladega to another level.”
- Many of the upgrades are focused on the infield, where new amenities and improved access will enhance the NASCAR fan’s experience.
- Hopefully, that means more bathrooms of the indoor variety.
- Gov. Kay Ivey and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh were on hand for the announcement.
- Ivey touted Talladega as a major economic engine for the state, and noted that the track’s 50th anniversary coincides with the state’s bicentennial.
A message from Troy University
- Each week TROY students meet in the kitchen to do their part to eliminate hunger in Pike County.
- Learn more about their amazing work and how it helps make the TROY family so special HERE.
3. No immunity for Montgomery officer in fatal shooting.
- A former Montgomery police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man was denied immunity and will now go on trial for murder.
- Aaron Cody Smith shot and killed 58-year-old Greg Gunn during a confrontation at Gunn’s house in February 2016. Smith claimed he feared for his life because Gunn was “arming himself” with a painter’s pole.
- Montgomery Judge Greg Griffin was not convinced.
“I have to admit to you I didn’t find the officer’s testimony credible,” Griffin said. “I don’t feel you have met the burden of proof. This trial will proceed on August 13.”
- WSFA and The Montgomery Advertiser have been doing excellent reporting on this for more than two years, and I encourage you to read/watch their stories:
- WSFA’s Jenn Horton: Judge denies Smith immunity.
- The Montgomery Advertiser’s Andrew Yawn: Case of officer charged with Greg Gunn’s murder headed to trial.
4. The New Space Race.
- The Top Gun Astronaut who was the last to pilot a NASA Space Shuttle mission is going to be the first to pilot a commercial space flight.
- Chris Ferguson, call sign “Fergy,” is preparing for a mission that could usher in the new era of space tourism. (The real kind, not the Lance Bass kind.)
- And his Boeing Starliner spacecraft will be thrust into space by an Alabama-built rocket. Just like the old days. Just like it ought to be.
- Boeing and Lockheed’s United Launch Alliance has been in a new space race of sorts with Elon Musk’s upstart SpaceX to restart American-based manned travel to space.
- Fergy flies for Boeing, though, and he’s one of many factors that puts them ahead of the game.
- That’s good for Alabama, given Boeing’s large presence in Huntsville and ULA’s Decatur rocket-building facility.
- Read this in-depth feature story “Companies in the Cosmos” in the Washington Post.
5. News briefs.
Soldiers’ remains returned
- An aircraft carrying the remains of American soldiers who fought and died in the Korean War landed at a U.S. military base in South Korea late last night.
- The White House says the remains of 55 Americans are being returned “to fulfill a commitment made by leader Kim Jong Un during his summit with President Donald Trump in June.”
- A ceremony to honor the fallen is scheduled for next Wednesday.
Bonner leaving UA
- Former Congressman Jo Bonner is leaving his post at the University of Alabama to focus on his economic development role at the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority.
- Bonner has been serving as executive director of the TCIDA on an interim basis since last year.
- “I am excited to continue to work with TCIDA as they do some really great things to keep building the economy,” Bonner told The Tuscaloosa News. “But long term, there is probably something else out there I will gravitate towards. I don’t know quite what that is yet.”
HudsonAlpha expansion opens
- Huntsville’s HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology has just opened its brand new facility and it’s really quite something.
- The pioneer biotech company has cutting edge research going on at its Cummings Research Park facility, but needed more space for its growing education and start-up incubator programs.
- Go take a look at the incredible pictures and read Lee Roop’s story about what all HudsonAlpha is doing.
Bonus: Dale Murphy
- If you were a boy growing up in South in the 1980s, chances are you idolized Dale Murphy.
- Sure there were other sports idols. Bo Jackson and Michael Jordan come to mind.
- But, there was something different about Dale Murphy. An “Everyman” quality that made people love him. I remember believing that Dale Murphy hit a home run every time he got up to bat.
- Whether or not you were a fan, you’ll enjoy reading this Wright Thompson piece about boyhood, baseball, and what becomes of those we admire.
- Read “Where have you gone, Dale Murphy?” and have a great weekend.
Quick Heads Up
- We are now offering a Daily News weekender edition, which should hit your inbox Sunday.
- It will come from ADN reporter Caroline Beck, so look for that name and add “Caroline@ALDailyNews.com” to your safe senders list to help avoid spam filters.
- Come to think of it, go ahead and add “todd@ALDailyNews.com” to your contacts or safe senders list too if you haven’t already.
- The email inbox overlords can be ruthless sometimes.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Talladega Superspeedway to undergo $50M ‘Transformation’ to enhance fan experience.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Judge won’t grant immunity to Montgomery officer in fatal shooting.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Conservative Jim Jordan’s speaker run boosts Trump allies.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House backs defense bill with military pay raise, parade.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – June durable goods up solid 1 pct … manufacturers abide.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Report: China, Russia and Iran conduct economic spying on US.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ryan says he opposes GOP effort to impeach DOJ’s Rosenstein.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Wastewater treatment is a problem in the rural South. Who is working to fix it?
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Case of officer charged with Greg Gunn murder sent to trial.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Here’s why Alabama’s Open Record Act is important to you.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Contributor Vanzetta McPherson: Ode to Alvin Holmes, who confronted, challenged others to social, political change.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Alabama’s United Launch Alliance brings U.S. mission to the Space Station one step closer.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Coming Attractions: Talladega Superspeedway to invest $50 million in infield renovations.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – What’s the best fried chicken in Alabama?
DOTHAN EAGLE – Opera House renovations maintain the historic building’s ambiance.
DOTHAN EAGLE – Coffee County man sentenced to life without parole.
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Former congressman Jo Bonner leaving University of Alabama System to focus on work with Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority.
ANNISTON STAR – Honda: Tariffs are ‘top policy concern’.
ANNISTON STAR – Editor Phillip Tutor: The money Alabama is leaving behind.
AL.COM – Rep. Randy Davis indictment ‘hits closer to home’ for south Alabama.
AL.COM – House authorizes $1.2 billion in spending for Redstone Arsenal.
AL.COM – Rep. Jack Williams’ lawyer does not expect case to go to trial.
AL.COM – Mo Brooks challenged to debates by Democrat Peter Joffrion.
AL.COM – AG Sessions backs Rod Rosenstein amid impeachment push.
AL.COM – Passenger travel up 16 percent at Birmingham airport.
AL.COM – Census comments are open, but Alabama lawsuit over counting immigrants may be off-limits.
AL.COM – Kay Ivey 3rd most popular governor in U.S., poll shows.
AL.COM – Congress on track to approve 3 LCS contracts for 2019.
AL.COM – New HudsonAlpha building is ‘next step’ for Alabama biotech industry.
AL.COM – Contributor Tracie Richter: ‘Mommy, why do people get cancer and die?’
AL.COM – Columnist Amanda Walker: We build houses like we will be here forever.
WASHINGTON POST – U.S. military takes possession of remains that North Korea says belong to Americans who died in the Korean War.
WASHINGTON POST – Hundreds of migrant children remain in custody, though most separated families are reunited at court deadline.
WASHINGTON POST – Climate change is supercharging a hot and dangerous summer.
WASHINGTON POST – The big lesson from Trump’s truce on trade? Pushback works.
WASHINGTON POST – EPA reverses course, says it will enforce stricter pollution limits for glider trucks.
WASHINGTON POST – In tentative deal with E.U., Trump touts parts of global trade deals he once rejected.
WASHINGTON POST – U.S. growth probably hit 4.2 percent this spring, but experts say it’s a blip.
WASHINGTON POST – Contributor Ansley Quiros: Don’t call Christians who support Trump hypocrites. Convert them.
NEW YORK TIMES – Public Comments to the Commerce Department: ‘Don’t Ruin Our American Dream!’
NEW YORK TIMES – Mercedes-Benz Mulls Production Shift Away From U.S. but No Decision Taken.
NEW YORK TIMES – Facebook’s Stock Plunge Shatters Faith in Tech Companies’ Invincibility.
NEW YORK TIMES – Judge Allows Lawsuit Trying to Block Citizenship Question From Census.