Weekend Digest – October 11, 2020

Weekend Digest – October 11, 2020
Good morning and Happy Sunday!
Here’s your Daily News for October 11.

1. Trump: free of virus, ready for campaign trail

  • President Donald Trump today declared he was healthy enough to return to the campaign trail, a day after the White House doctor said he was no longer at risk of transmitting the coronavirus but did not say explicitly whether Trump had tested negative for it.
  • Trump, who was poised Monday to host his first rally after his COVID-19 diagnosis, declared he was now “immune” from the virus, a claim that was impossible to prove and comes amid a series of outstanding questions about the president’s health.
  • “I’m immune,” Trump said in an interview on Fox News. “The president is in very good shape to fight the battles.”
  • In a memo released Saturday night by the White House, Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley said Trump met the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for safely discontinuing isolation and that by “currently recognized standards” he was no longer considered a transmission risk. The memo did not declare Trump had tested negative for the virus.
  • Read more HERE.


2. Some residents oppose new state mega-prisons near them

  • Some residents in Elmore and Bibb counties are angered and frustrated by the state’s decision to locate new mega-prisons in their communities. They expressed concern about possible escapes, traffic, and infrastructure and the fact there was no public input about building prisons for 3,000 inmates in their communities.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey announced last month that companies had been selected to build the proposed prisons in Elmore, Bibb and Escambia counties that the state would then lease for the next 30 years. The administration said it would enter into negotiations with the companies for final details and construction would begin in 2021.
  • One of the 3,000-inmate prisons will be located in Brierfield, a 1,600-person unincorporated community in Bibb County, where some residents say they moved for its tranquil, rural environment. The number of inmates housed in the facility will be about half the population of the nearest city, Montevallo, which has about 6,600 residents.
  • Jackson McNeeley, one of the organizers of a group opposing the prison, said the isolated area, which has little law enforcement presence and no sewer system, does not have the infrastructure to support the large facility.
  • “One of the concerns we have is that nobody was consulted,” McNeely said. “Bringing a prison is not going to help the citizens of Brierfield. It’s just not.”
  • Read more about it HERE.


3. Contract review: Corrections’ increasing health spending; Tyson spill update

  • Earlier this month the Alabama Legislature’s Contract Review Committee met for its regular examination of contracts sought by state agencies.
  • This month included an increase from the Department Corrections surrounding their medical and mental health care contractors, as well as a contract for a criminal justice consulting firm.
  • The Board of Pardons and Paroles had two contracts approved to provide better treatment options to their Mobile day reporting center and another contract for a consulting group that would train probation officers to identify, understand and respond to certain signs of mental illness and substance abuse.
  • The attorney general’s office also gave an update on the Mulberry Fork Spill litigation concerning Tyson Foods Inc. spill in 2019.
  • A legal contract for the Medical Examiner’s board to bring in outside attorney’s to help analyze the board’s processes and operations was delayed for 45 days.
  • Read more about the contracts from me HERE.


4. Barrett to senators: Courts ‘should not try’ to make policy

  • Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett will tell senators that courts “should not try” to make policy, leaving those decisions to the political branches of government, according to opening remarks for her confirmation hearing obtained Sunday by The Associated Press.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, set to begin Monday as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the country, are taking place three weeks before Election Day and after millions of Americans already have voted. President Donald Trump nominated the federal appeals court judge soon after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died.
  • “I have been nominated to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat, but no one will ever take her place,” Barrett will tell the committee, according to her opening remarks.
  • Barrett says she has resolved to maintain the same perspective as her mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who was “devoted to his family, resolute in his beliefs, and fearless of criticism.”
  • Read more about her statement HERE.


5. Will Sellers: The Vice-Presidential Debate That Never Was

  • Will Sellers, an associate justice on the Alabama Supreme Court, has a piece today about a vice-presidential debate that never happened between Lyndon B. Johnson and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. in 1960.
  • Sellers lays out who the two candidates were at the time, the political landscape of the time and asks what would be the result of the election if they had debated.
  • Here is an excerpt:
“Over the last few election cycles, we’ve become accustomed to seeing the candidates for vice-president square off in a debate. Perhaps this is acknowledging the greater responsibilities performed by modern day vice-presidents. I’ve always regretted that 60 years ago, vice-presidential hopefuls Lyndon Johnson and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. didn’t debate. It would have been a show of contrasts and with the election so razor thin, just might have made more of a difference.”


Week in Good News

Alabama writer turns 100, reflects on lifelong career in journalism and fashion
  • Madera Spencer, former columnist and society editor for The Montgomery Advertiser, turned 100 on Thursday and celebrated with about 20 members of her friends and family on the patio of the assisted living community as dozens of cars drove past with posters and banners wishing her well.
  • “I am so overjoyed to be 100 years old,” Madera said. “I kept saying, ‘Please Lord just let me get to 100, and then I won’t worry about anything else,’ and now I’ve made it and it’s a wonderful feeling.”
  • Over the course of her career with the Advertiser that began in 1955 and spanned 27 years, Madera wrote about food, culture and fashion in her column “People and Places;” and she traveled the world, going from New York to Europe to East Asia and back to Montgomery.
  • Read more about Spencer’s amazing life from the Opelika-Auburn News’ Alex Hosey.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump insists he’s free of virus, ready for campaign trail
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Communities oppose new state mega-prisons near them
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Contract review: Corrections’ increasing health spending; Tyson spill update
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Barrett to senators: Courts ‘should not try’ to make policy
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – The Vice-Presidential Debate That Never Was
AL.COM – Alabama closes out week with uptick in reported coronavirus deaths: Week in review.
AL.COM – Convenience store supplier breaks ground on robotic warehouse.
AL.COM – Answering Trump, Alabama election boss spells out ‘the way it works’ at polls.
AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Alabama Dems asked to do same thing AG did. Ethics Commission said no.
AL.COM – Columnist Amanda Walker: All in all, it’s just another fly.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – UAH and Calhoun announce creation of Dual Nursing Degree Program.
DECATUR DAILY – Lawrence school enrollment up after falling from 2000-2019 amid economic headwinds.
DECATUR DAILY – The Decatur Daily: Doug Jones best choice for US Senate.
DECATUR DAILY – Spike in local COVID cases has hospitals preparing for worst.
TIMES DAILY – Cities pushing back against preservation act.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – As Alabama moves to build new prisons, opposition mounts in communities getting them.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – City honors Native American history as Montgomery observes 1st Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
OPELIKA AUBURN NEWS – Toomer’s Corner group sit-in stands for justice, tops 100-day mark.
OPELIKA AUBURN NEWS – The Opelika Auburn News: A transparent, accurate look at COVID-19 in our schools.
DOTHAN EAGLE – The Dothan Eagle: Rude awakening.
WASHINGTON POST – As Trump refuses to say he’ll accept election results, Republicans press to make voting harder.
WASHINGTON POST – Trump returns to public campaigning, falsely claiming that the virus that infected him is ‘disappearing’.
WASHINGTON POST – Prospects for more stimulus checks, coronavirus relief fade as latest offer from Trump draws opposition from Republicans and Democrats.
WASHINGTON POST – Contributor Stephanie Ranade Kride: I’m a pro-life evangelical. In supporting Trump, my movement sold its soul.
NEW YORK TIMES – In a Small Alabama Town, Suddenly All Politics Is National
NEW YORK TIMES – The President’s Taxes: The Swamp That Trump Built
NEW YORK TIMES – Columnist Nicholas Kristof: Who’s the Tax Cheat: The Lady in Jail or the Man in the White House? Donald Trump knows that taxes are for the poor.
NEW YORK TIMES – Analysis: Trump Has Called His Supporters ‘Disgusting.’ Do They Care?
NEW YORK TIMES – U.S. budget deficit topped a record $3 trillion for 2020 fiscal year.