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Daily News Digest – April 23, 2018

Good morning! Here’s your Daily News for Monday, April 23.

1. Surprise selection: Mackey will become State Superintendent.  

  • Dr. Eric Mackey was selected to become Alabama’s next State Superintendent of Education.
  • The State Board of Education voted 5-4 for Mackey over perceived favorite Jefferson County Superintendent and former Dept. of Education No 2 Craig Pouncey.
  • This was a surprise to say the least. Most thought Pouncey had it in the bag.
  • I wrote a story about it, including a break down of the vote, which you can read HERE.
  • I also wrote a column about what the State Superintendent job position means, the challenges Mackey now faces, and why it is important to have a good working relationship with the governor. You can read and share that HERE.
  • Also read: Andrew Yawn’s story for the Advertiser HERE, Trisha Crain’s story for HERE, and Mary Sell’s story for the Decatur Daily HERE.

2. Trump allies pressure Doug Jones on Pompeo vote. 

Confirmation no sure thing

  • The biggest thing happening in Washington right now is the confirmation of Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, and wouldn’t you know Alabama is right in the middle of it?
  • Pompeo is currently CIA Director and already received Senate confirmation for that job, so this should be a breeze, right? Not so fast.
  • Senate Democrats are digging in their heels to stop Pompeo. The resist-Trump-at-all-costs political environment on the left makes it hard for Senate Democrats to simply “advise and consent” on nominees per their Constitutional responsibility.
  • Add in the fact that Republican Sen. Rand Paul is also holding out against Pompeo, and this vote margin might be pretty tight.

Jones’ vote could swing nomination

  • Enter Alabama’s Sen. Doug Jones, who might be a deciding vote on Pompeo’s confirmation.
  • Jones has not said how he’ll vote, but now he’s getting some unsolicited help in making that decision.
  • 45Committee, a Super PAC that supports and promotes President Trump’s agenda, is now airing television spots in Alabama aimed to sway Jones to support Pompeo’s nomination.
  • Read my EXCLUSIVE story on the effort to get Jones to a “yes” on Pompeo w/ video of the ad HERE
  • The ad begins airing in Alabama markets today. It has been described as a six-figure buy, which is enough for decent play on cable for about a week. And this thing was designed for Fox News.

Sorry, staffers

  • I’m also told a series of “patch-through” robo calls will accompany the advertising. That’s when an operator calls your house to tell you about an important issue and asks if you’d like to be connected to your Congressman or Senator. If you say yes, you are “patched through” directly to the office and some poor staff assistant.
  • Done well, a patch-through campaign can be pretty effective in getting an office’s attention.
  • They can also be super annoying for Capitol Hill staffers, who get swarmed by hundreds of calls, many times from confused constituents who think the Senator called them. Good luck with that, Sen. Jones’ staffers.

3. Lynching memorial draws attention, introspection. 

  • The National Memorial for Peace and Justice is set to open in Montgomery on Thursday.
  • This is the project from the Equal Justice Initiative that documents and memorializes American lynching victims from after the Civil War through the Civil Rights Movement.
  • The memorial is opening to a lot of fanfare, including a star-studded concert on the river front this weekend.
  • It is also sparking a lot of dialogue, which is the whole point.
  • The Montgomery Advertiser is doing a series on the project, and the stories are well worth reading.
  • Marty Roney writes about why Montgomery – Cradle of the Confederacy and Birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement – is a fitting location for this memorial. Read his story HERE.
  • Brian Lyman takes a hard look internally at some of the Advertiser’s disappointing coverage of lynchings. The newspaper’s shortcomings probably speak to a broader failure of society at the time. Anyway, it’s worth your time.

4. What’s going on w/ North Korea?

  • President Trump is saying North Korea has agreed to “denuclearize.”
  • That’s obviously very big and very good news.
  • But, NoKo dictator Kim Jong Un says not really. The  rogue nation will close down its nuclear bomb test sites and suspend testing its Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Program.
  • That’s also a very big deal, just not the same thing as “denuclearization.”
  • All this comes ahead of the historic summit between North and South Korea, which is set to begin later this week.
  • Read more HERE.

5. News briefs. 

  • Alabama Lt. Governor hasn’t been a powerful position since State Senate Democrats stripped GOP Lt. Governor Steve Windom of most of his legislative power back in the 1990s. But, given last year’s dramatic turn of events, the idea of being a heartbeat away from the top job got a lot more real. AP’s Mallory Moench did a profile on this year’s Lt. Governor race, which is worth your time this morning.
  • A suicide bomber killed at least 57 people in Afghanistan yesterday. The bomber targeted a government building where citizens were registering to vote, which is a major setback to efforts to promote democracy. Read more HERE.
  • The man who charged a gunman in a Tennessee Waffle House is being hailed as a hero for probably saving many lives. Four people were killed in the attack. James Shaw, Jr. describes the attack and what his thinking was HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Exclusive: Trump allies pressure Jones on Pompeo vote.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Mackey chosen as State Superintendent.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Todd Stacy Column: Alabama has a new Superintendent of Schools.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Fundraising, ethics up front in Lt. Governor primary.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Hearing Monday on inmate suicide in prison mental health trial.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Man who snatchedAR-15 from gunman: ‘it was life or death.’

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: New lynching memorial offers chance to remember, heal.  

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Pompeo facing rare opposition in from Senate panel.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: North Korea to ‘denuclearize?’ Not exactly.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Sheriff: Five injured Sunday tornado.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Driver crashes through brick wall at Birmingham Chick-fil-a.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – EJI’s lynching memorial: If not in Montgomery, then where?

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – ‘There will be lynchings.’ How the Advertiser failed victims of racial terror.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Mackey selected as state superintendent.

OPELIKA AUBURN NEWS – Cobb hopes to instill ‘Lifelong Learner Lottery’ if elected.

DOTHAN EAGLE – $10 million is the cost to provide special education services to Dothan students.

DOTHAN EAGLE: Tornado damage reported at Fort Rucker.

AL.COM – Gov. Kay Ivey says no special legislative session planned.

AL.COM – Opponents attack Attorney General Steve Marshall at GOP forum.

AL.COM – How Alabama could become ‘Ground Zero’ in renewed battle over Confederate symbols.

AL.COM – Columnist Dana Hall McCain:  Nikki Haley: Not confused, not your girl.

AL.COM – Comment period open on $192 million in coastal grants.

AL.COM – Black University of Alabama students say cancelled Jared Taylor event a bittersweet victory.

AL.COM – Data breach could impact some patients of medical lab chain with Alabama locations.

AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald:  Moody execution brings back old sins.

AL.COM – Columnist Shelly Haskins:  Alabama-made film to put face on veterans issues.

AL.COM – Columnist Ike Morgan:  The week Down in Alabama, and it smells so good.

AL.COM – Contributor State Sen. Gerald Allen:  Preserving our history to protect our future.

AL.COM – Contributor Frances Coleman:  Barbara Bush was the kind of mother we all wanted and want to be.

AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith:  Doug Jones shouldn’t play partisan keep-away with Trump’s Pompeo nomination.

AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald:  Why live in Alabama?

ANDALUSIA STAR – Autism awareness: Local program is hyper-focused on early intervention.

LAGNIAPPE – Local sheriffs support jail feeding fund reforms.

DECATUR DAILY – Area farmers concerned about impact of China tariffs.

DECATUR DAILY – Morgan sheriff still dealing with bankruptcy aftermath.

DECATUR DAILY – Regional differences real, but surmountable.

FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – Accountability a key to future.

TUSCALOOSA NEWS – As problems overwhelm the state, Ivey panders.

ANNISTON STAR – Comey and the noise machine.

ANNISTON STAR – An olfactory disaster that teaches a lesson.

WASHINGTON POST – Michael Cohen, once at pinnacle of Trump’s world, now poses threat to it.

NEW YORK TIMES – An Opioid Crisis Foretold

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