Presented by the Stop The HIT Coalition
Good morning! Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, December 6.
1. Bush remembered with praise, humor, tears.
- The nation bid goodbye to George H.W. Bush with high praise, cannon salutes and gentle humor, celebrating the life of the Texan who embraced a lifetime of service in Washington and was the last president to fight for the U.S. in wartime.
- The current and three former presidents looked on at Washington National Cathedral as a fourth — George W. Bush — eulogized his dad as “the brightest of a thousand points of light.”
- I have to say, watching W break down at the end of his remarks was when my tears came.
- The late president’s best buddy in Congress, former Sen. Alan Simpson spoke of Bush’s unique integrity in a sometimes dirty business.
- “Those who travel the high road of humility in Washington aren’t bothered by heavy traffic,” he said.
- Historian Jon Meacham also offered a touching eulogy, speaking of Bush’s “life code.”
- “Tell the truth. Don’t blame people. Be strong. Do your best. Try hard. Forgive. Stay the course. And that was, and is, the most American of creeds.”
- How true. I’m going to remember those words.
- President George H. W. Bush’s casket will now make its way from Houston to College Station via train. It’s the first presidential funeral train since President Eisenhower 50 years ago.
- Read more about the funeral and the final farewells HERE.
2. Report: Alabama prisons are nation’s most ‘deadliest.’
- A new report from the Equal Justice Initiative claims Alabama’s prisons are the “deadliest” in the nation with the recent spike in homicides.
- Based on the national average, that’s easily the case.
- The recent stabbing of 29-year-old Vaquerro Kinjuan Armstrong at Holman marked the eighth homicide within the prison system since January.
- Since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2017, Alabama prisons have seen 19 murders. That puts Alabama’s average prison homicide rate at as much as six times the national average, according to EJI’s tabulation.
- The Department of Corrections isn’t surprised by these numbers. They report them every month.
- And, for the record, DOC says the uptick in violence directly corresponds with the “level of prison violence and the shortage of correctional staff in an overpopulated prison system with limited resources for rehabilitating offenders.”
- I spoke with State Sen. Cam Ward, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and has been an advocate for prison reform for some time.
- He agreed about prison overcrowding and under-staffing, but added two really interesting factors into the mix: the nature of the prison population and the outdated facilities.
- Ward said he thinks addressing the myriad prison problems will be a priority for some in the upcoming legislative session, but it won’t be easy.
- “This is not going to be for free. We’re going to have to pay for it. If we want public safety, then we’re going to pay for it.”
- Full story HERE.
A Message from the Stop The HIT Coalition
- The Stop The HIT Coalition thanks Senator Doug Jones for protecting Alabama small businesses, middle-class families and seniors from the 2020 Health Insurance Tax.
- This costly, unfair and hidden tax increases the cost of health insurance in the small business market, needlessly stifles economic growth and should be repealed.
- Senator Jones joined a bipartisan group in urging Senate leadership to prioritize urgent cost savings for hardworking Alabamians before the tax returns.
- Thank Senator Jones for working for Alabama small businesses and families by supporting efforts to stop the 2020 Health Insurance Tax.
3. Sessions on Senate return: Meh.
- Politico’s Burgess Everett caught up with former Attorney General Jeff Sessions yesterday after the funeral.
- When I say caught up, it sounds like he hopped in the Senate subway car with him, which generally renders one a captive interviewee for about three minutes.
- What Everett gleaned were comments that make it sound like Sessions isn’t all that interested in returning to the Senate.
- “I’ve been clearing my brain. I think that’s a fair statement,” Sessions said.
- “I’ll go to Alabama, do some things and then that will clarify things a little more before I worry about making a statement.”
- Does he miss the Senate chamber?
- “No. I mean, no.”
- You can hear his voice in that deliberate response.
- “I could go back and spend time in the woods. I’ve got 10 grandchildren, oldest is 11.”
- Take it for what it’s worth.
- I said from the beginning I doubt he’ll run, but nobody really knows except him. He could come home and get bored or find a cause only him being in the Senate can solve.
- Anyway, read Burgess’ full story for yourself HERE.
4. Latest on Hoover shooting case(s).
- Erron Brown, the suspect in the Thanksgiving night Galleria shooting, has pleaded not guilty.
- Brown is charged with attempted murder after police say his gunshot wounded and almost killed Brian Wilson. A 12-year old girl was also shot and badly wounded, but no one is charged with that.
- Brown’s attorney says he did not start the melee and that it was an “ongoing thing” that erupted in gunshots.
- Brown’s legal defense is also asking for evidence – including video surveillance – that could exonerate their client.
- A judge on Wednesday ruled that evidence must be turned over to the defense, including “all videos of the incident.”
- However, the judge may still have to decide which and how much video will be released.
- Of course, video of the incident is what activists protesting the death of E.J. Bradford want released. Bradford was shot and killed by police responding to the incident.
- ALEA has an ongoing investigation and has said the video won’t be released until that probe is complete.
- So, more than one case is now riding on the various videos from the Galleria Thanksgiving night.
- Full story HERE.
5. Can Congress re-up LCWF in lame duck?
- Many questions remain about what Congress can accomplish when the lame duck session resumes a somewhat normal schedule next week.
- Of course, the big-ticket items are appropriations (how much wall funding they’ll fight over) and confirmations (how many federal judges the Senate can confirm over the objections of Sen. Jeff Flake and others).
- But, one item many conservationists and outdoors enthusiasts are hoping gets attention is the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
- The Fund’s six-year authorization expired in September.
- For Alabama, the LWCF coalition provided about $153 million for sites such as the Bon Secour and Cahaba National Wildlife Refuges, Little River Canyon National Preserve, and Talladega, Tuskegee and Bankhead National Forests.
- Alabama’s federal lawmakers have supported the Fund in the past, and Reps. Bradley Byrne and Terri Sewell have written letters supporting its reauthorization soon.
- Read more from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.
China on board
- China’s government says it will promptly carry out a tariff cease-fire with Washington and is confident they can reach a trade agreement.
- Talks during the 90-day period during which President Donald Trump has agreed to suspend U.S. tariff hikes will start by focusing on farm goods, energy and automobiles, said a Ministry of Commerce spokesman, Gao Feng.
- Asked to confirm whether Beijing promised to buy American goods immediately, Gao said China will “immediately implement the consensus reached by the two sides on farm products, cars and energy.”
- President Trump agreed Saturday to postpone U.S. tariff hikes in a fight over Beijing’s technology policy by 90 days while the two sides negotiate.
- Read more HERE.
SCOTUS Double Jeopardy case has Alabama connection
- The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments about an exception to the Constitution’s ban on being tried for the same offense.
- The justices are taking up an appeal Thursday from federal prison inmate Terance Gamble. He was prosecuted separately by Alabama and the federal government for having a gun after an earlier robbery conviction.
- The high court is considering whether to overturn a court-created exception to the Constitution’s double-jeopardy bar that allows state and federal prosecutions for the same crime.
- The outcome could have a spillover effect on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
- If President Donald Trump were to pardon someone implicated in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, the court’s ruling could be relevant if a state (New York) wanted to pursue its own charges against that person.
- Full story HERE.
Virginia College closing
- One of the nation’s largest for-profit college chains announced Wednesday that it was abruptly closing in dozens of locations nationwide, after its accrediting agency suspended approval.
- Birmingham-based Education Corp. of America said it was closing schools operating as Virginia College, Brightwood College, Brightwood Career Institute, Ecotech Institute and Golf Academy of America in more than 70 locations in 21 states.
- The company said in October that it had more than 20,000 students, although more recent documents indicate the number may be closer to 15,000.
- Spokeswoman Diane Worthington said that at most locations, Friday would be the last day of classes, and students would get academic credit for this term.
- Full story HERE.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Report: Alabama’s prisons are nation’s ‘deadliest’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – For-profit college closes operations, surprising students
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – China promises prompt action on US trade pact
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Nation bids goodbye to Bush with high praise, cannons, humor
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawyer: man charged in mall shooting didn’t start the melee
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Supreme Court to hear closely watched double jeopardy case
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Could Congress reauthorize Land Water Conservation Fund in lame duck session?
ALABAMA NEWS NETWORK – Former Alabama Rep. Perry Hooper, Jr. Remembers Late President George H.W. Bush
AL.COM – 2 US warplanes crash after colliding off of Japan’s coast; 2 found, 5 missing from crews
AL.COM – Pastors form interracial group to heal from Galleria shooting.
AL.COM – Alabama researchers help link gene to kind of early dementia
AL.COM – Birmingham metro area saw nearly $1 billion in investment in 2018
AL.COM – Officer who watched Rosa Parks get arrested: ‘It affected more people than any arrest’
AL.COM – EPA dismisses civil rights complaint against Alabama environmental agency
AL.COM – Shaw Industries celebrates $250 million expansion in Andalusia
AL.COM – Videos must be handed over to Galleria shooting suspect’s attorney, judge orders
AL.COM – Will Alabama’s schools show improvement on report cards?
AL.COM – Contributor Dr. Donald Williamson: It’s time to invest in a healthy Alabama with more preventive care
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Legislative leaders say infrastructure will be top 2019 priority
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Florida man charged in Montgomery credit card fraud
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Voices of the Montgomery Bus Boycott: How individuals contributed to a social movement
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – George W. Bush, choking back tears, lauds his father as ‘the best father a son or daughter could have’
DOTHAN EAGLE – Holmes County school bus crash: Children unhurt, other driver seriously injured
DOTHAN EAGLE – From homeless to resounding success: Shelley Stewart emphasizes the importance of education
DOTHAN EAGLE – Elba escapee captured after walking off work detail
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Auburn University honors Lionel Richie, Judy Woodruff at 25th annual International Quality of Life Awards
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Alabama Marine, Naval officer guard casket of George H.W. Bush at U.S. Capitol
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Ivey’s Inaugural Committee announces ‘Keep Alabama Growing’ theme
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Christmas Afloat and Holiday Singalong rescheduled due to weather
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Five arrested in attempted break-in at gun store
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Hard choice: Tua Tagovailoa or Kyler Murray for Heisman?
DECATUR DAILY – Morgan sheriff’s subpoena of FBI rejected; lawyer says IRS probing food money
DECATUR DAILY – Charles Riley – 1928-2018: Local historian, author dies at 90
DECATUR DAILY – Driver involved in 2015 fatal collision starts serving sentence
TIMES DAILY – Project Say Something to present sculpture request
TIMES DAILY – Sheffield School Board considering Early College agreement
TIMES DAILY – Council OK’s evaluation of tavern’s foundation
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Service project helps teach students 7 Habits
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – State, industry leaders laud Shaw’s $250M investment in plant [with gallery]
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Pop-up shop offers fresh trees, wreaths
TROY MESSENGER – Rough stretch: Trojans embrace tough, busy schedule
TROY MESSENGER – With success comes great expectations, Troy has had bot
THE ANNISTON STAR – Anniston man charged in November domestic violence incident
THE ANNISTON STAR – Piedmont family first to benefit from Habitat program for veterans
THE ANNISTON STAR – Anniston basketball group to distribute clothing for homeless Dec. 15
GADSDEN TIMES – Lawyer: Suspect didn’t start melee
GADSDEN TIMES – Gadsden BOE January meeting date changed
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Central-Phenix City slams Thompson, takes home Class 7A state championship
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Valley man charged with attempted murder in vehicle shooting
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Six potential Auburn offensive coordinator candidates
CULLMAN TIMES – Arrests, incidents reports for Dec. 4, 2018
CULLMAN TIMES – Organization collecting toys, clothes for area children
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Thompson falls in 7A title game
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Chelsea planning for parade, Mingle with Santa event
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Christmas on the Farm postponed to Dec. 21
THE MADISON RECORD – Bob Jones Patriot Players win state, advance to SETC
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – STEM positively challenges T.R. Simmons students
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Smith will bring Mercy Project to sheriff’s department
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Horse Creek gets new sign
NEW YORK TIMES – Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accelerate Like a ‘Speeding Freight Train’ in 2018
NEW YORK TIMES – ‘Already an Exception’: Merkel’s Legacy Is Shaped by Migration and Austerity
NEW YORK TIMES – ‘Already an Exception’: Merkel’s Legacy Is Shaped by Migration and Austerity
WASHINGTON POST – Saudi-funded lobbyist paid for 500 rooms at Trump’s hotel after 2016 election
WASHINGTON POST – Don’t condemn white nationalists, Veterans Affairs’ diversity chief was told after Charlottesville, emails show
WASHINGTON POST – At George H.W. Bush’s funeral, a magisterial presidency meets one diminished by division
USA TODAY – George H.W. Bush returns to Houston church he spent 50 years worshipping for final goodbye
USA TODAY – Michael Flynn re-emerges as major witness in Robert Mueller’s inquiry – and at least two others
USA TODAY – ‘What happened to Carla is just unimaginable’: Security guard at Costa Rican resort arrested in Florida woman’s death
POLITICO – Hill veteran Poling tapped as NRCC executive director
POLITICO – ‘We have a crisis’: Democrats at war over voter data trove