Daily News Digest – September 19, 2018

Daily News Digest – September 19, 2018

PRESENTED BY THE ALABAMA COAL ASSOCIATION

Good morning! Hey, sorry about those broken links yesterday. Squirrels in the servers again. Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, September 19.

1. Historic Appropriations.

  • We’ve talked about it. I’ve written about it. But I’m still not sure I expected what just happened out of Washington with appropriations legislation.
  • The Senate just cleared the Defense-HHS “minibus,” meaning that when the House passes it next week, Congress will have fully funded 75 percent of the government on time.
  • I checked and that hasn’t happened since 1997.
  • If they get moving on Ag & Transportation, they’ll be at 90 percent fully funded for FY2019.
  • That’s unheard of.
  • Credit Sen. Richard Shelby, the Appropriations Chairman who called his shot when I wrote about it back in April as he took the gavel.
  • There are lots of good things for Alabama in this latest bill, from health and education programs to military spending.
  • Come for that and stay for the Shelby fist pump pic HERE.

2. The latest on this SCOTUS mess.

  • Christine Blasey Ford, the California professor accusing SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in high school, will not testify at next week’s called Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
  • She wants the FBI to investigate her claims first, her lawyer told the committee in a letter late yesterday.
  • The Department of Justice says the FBI has already completed its background checks and that, after reviewing the accusation, no federal crimes are alleged.
  • Democrats say the hearing shouldn’t be rushed. Of course, the whole reason we are in this mess is because the committee’s top Democrat – Sen. Diane Finestein – did not see fit to bring up the allegations until after the committee’s public and private investigatory work was done.
  • Republicans say if you flout the process and sandbag a massive sexual assault claim, you’re not exactly in the position to decide when and how it is heard.
  • This isn’t going to end well.
  • As former Judiciary Committee staffer Gregg Nunziata explains, there is a process in place to deal with these matters in a private, respectful way. But Finestein and Ford chose not to avail themselves of that, and both the Senate and the Supreme Court are going to be the worse for it no matter the outcome.
  • Get caught up on the latest HERE.

A message from the Alabama Coal Association

  • 80% of the coal produced in Alabama is high-quality metallurgical (met) coal, an essential ingredient in the production of steel.
  • 20% of coal mined in Alabama is thermal coal used for local power generation, which provides our state with greater energy security.

3. Ivey gets small business support.

  • That major endorsement Gov. Kay Ivey was set to get? It was from the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
  • That’s the group that represents small businesses and lobbies on their behalf in Montgomery and Washington.
  • Rosemary Elebash, who runs the Alabama chapter, said 98 percent of her members voted to support Ivey. That’s a record high, she said.
  • I wasn’t there in Birmingham for the announcement, but Caroline Beck was. Read her story for the details HERE.

4. Skip Tucker in the graveyard.

  • If it’s Wednesday we’re reading Skip Tucker.
  • Halloween is coming a little early for our friend Skip this week. He’s telling ghost stories, or graveyard stories more like it.
  • The tale of “Old Pisgah” is his topic. Here’s an excerpt:
  • “Some stories of this variety were told with whimsey, but some as a dread warning, so to speak. Many of these had to do with cemeteries. You didn’t want to get caught dead near one. And, for whatever reason, most of the venerable didn’t call it a cemetery. It was a graveyard (a bone orchard). So, down the years, a healthy fear of graveyards was instilled in most Southerners of the rural stripe. Some graveyards, like any potentially dangerous thing, were worse than others. One, in particular, was Old Pisgah, situated a little ways between the small northwest Alabama towns of Townley and Carbon Hill…”
  • Full column HERE.

5. News briefs.

North Korea
  • Don’t look now, but the North Korean thing might just be going well after all.
  • South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced a sweeping set of agreements after their second day of talks in Pyongyang on Wednesday.
  • Kim said President Trump’s intervention in the situation opened up the region to talks and promised to permanently dismantle the North’s main nuclear complex if the United States takes corresponding measures.
  • Now the two countries want to co-host the Summer Olympics in 2032.
  • I mean, I’m still skeptical, but that’s what they’re saying. Full story HERE.
Culliver on leave
  • An associate commissioner at the Alabama Department of Corrections has been placed on administrative leave.
  • Grantt Culliver is the subject of written allegations of misconduct, prompting an investigation of the Department’s inspector general.
  • They aren’t saying what the allegations are (and they shouldn’t until the investigation is complete).
  • We’ll follow the story, but you can read what is known so far HERE.
Raycom layoffs
  • The merger of Montgomery-based media giant Raycom and with Atlanta-based Gray Television will result in layoffs for some Raycom employees.
  • CEO Pat LePlatney say it will only amount to “one half of one percent” of Raycom’s 8,200 employees.
  • If you do the math, that’s about 40 people.
  • Read Brad Harper’s full report HERE.
Congressional columns
  • Rep. Mike Rogers writes about his congressional recess visits throughout East Alabama in his latest column HERE.
  • Rep. Bradley Byrne has funding on his mind, particularly the progress in funding military construction and veterans affairs. His latest HERE.
  • Rep. Martha Roby is also talking funding and explains how getting back to regular order is a step forward from her perch on the House Appropriations Committee. Her column HERE.

Late Addition: Trump on Sessions.

  • We’re a little late today because I felt like I had to get this in: President Trump launched perhaps his most stinging criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions yet in an interview with The Hill TV.
  • The Hill is reporting transcripts of the interview, in which Trump says “I don’t have an attorney general” and “now it turned out he didn’t have to recuse himself” from the Russia investigation.
  • Actually, Sessions did have to recuse himself. It’s a DOJ regulation and Sessions AND TRUMP could have been in a lot of trouble if he didn’t.
  • Anyway, read and watch the whole sad thing HERE.

Headlines.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senate clears Defense, Health appropriations; Shelby touts major wins for Alabama.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey receives NFIB endorsement.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Kavanaugh’s accuser wants FBI to investigate before hearing.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – China’s premier appeals for free trade amid tariff battle.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Kim agrees to dismantle main nuke site if US takes steps too.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ex-Alabama elementary teacher faces student sex charge.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama prison official placed on leave.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Father charged after Alabama student shoots himself in hand.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Mike Rogers: What’s happening in East Alabama.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bradley Byrne: Setting our funding priorities.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Martha Roby: We’re one step closer to regular order.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Raycom, owners of WSFA, announce layoffs as merger moves ahead.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Alabama Legislature: GOP has money edge; House Dems push in suburbs.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Education department to seek $20 million for school security, increases for other programs.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Alabama prisons could be held in contempt for staffing issues.
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Small business group endorses Ivey.
DOTHAN EAGLE – ‘Black Voters Matter’ bus tour visits Dothan to encourage more electorate participation.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – WATCH: The Ford Faction’s final thoughts on the Kavanaugh showdown, the Emmys and more…
DECATUR DAILY – The Decatur Daily: Kavanaugh hearings poor way to choose a justice.
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – This year’s corn crop good, but not the best.
ANNISTON STAR – Six months bring varying degrees of recovery for JSU students, faculty, community.
ANNISTON STAR – The Anniston Star: Betting on an Alabama lottery, again.
AL.COM – Doug Jones calls for Mark Judge to be subpoenaed in Kavanaugh hearings.
AL.COM – Alabama prison official on leave pending investigation.
AL.COM – Judge rules on Roy Moore’s request to drop lawsuit.
AL.COM – Sen. Richard Shelby takes wait and see approach on Kavanaugh hearing.
AL.COM – JSU officials hopeful 6 months after devastating tornadoes.
AL.COM – Ivey: State working fast to expand prison staff.
AL.COM -Sen. Richard Shelby brings $29 million grant to Huntsville airport.
AL.COM – Federal judge asked to unseal Alabama prison staffing numbers.
AL.COM – Presidential approval ratings: Alabama still loves Trump.
AL.COM – Alabama could enlist in Jeff Sessions’ war on social media.
AL.COM – Contributor Stephanie Hicks: Finding hope in the criminal justice system.
WASHINGTON POST – Woman who accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault wants FBI to investigate incident before she testifies to Senate.
  WASHINGTON POST – Political nonprofits must now name many of their donors under federal court ruling after Supreme Court declines to intervene.
WASHINGTON POST – Senate passes defense and health spending bill, tries to delay border-wall fight to after midterms.
WASHINGTON POST – New U.S.-China tariffs raise fears of an economic Cold War.
WASHINGTON POST – Fate of FEMA leader in doubt as Florence cleanup continues.
NEW YORK TIMES – Christine Blasey Ford Wants F.B.I. to Investigate Kavanaugh Before She Testifies
NEW YORK TIMES – For Roy Wood Jr., Alabama Is Painful History, New Hope and Home
NEW YORK TIMES – U.S. Loses Track of Another 1,500 Migrant Children, Investigators Find.

Front Pages (images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit and patronize).