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Daily News Digest – August 14, 2018

Good morning! Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, August 14, 2018.

1. Trump signs $716 billion defense bill.

  • President Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law Monday from Fort Drum, New York.
  • It authorizes $716 billion in military spending, including many programs in Alabama.
  • The bill was named for Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, who the president doesn’t get along with and didn’t mention. But plenty of others offered a tribute.
  • Alabama Daily News reporter Will Whatley has the full story, including reaction from our senators and congressmen about how the NDAA impacts Alabama.
  • His story HERE.
  • Also, the bill requires the Department of Defense to improve the way it responds to minor-on-minor sexual assault at military bases.
  • That stems from an investigation showing how the military inadequately responded to victims and offenders – including three cases at Fort Rucker in the Wiregrass. More about that HERE.

2. Strzok struck. 

  • Peter Strzok has been fired. Honestly, that little wiggle might have been enough to do him in.
  • Strzok is the FBI agent who came under fire for the anti-Trump text messages he sent while helping lead the Russia investigation.
  • His lawyer said that the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility had recommended a demotion and 60-day suspension as punishment, but that was overruled. The FBI hasn’t commented yet.
  • From AP:

Texts between the two included their observations of the 2016 election and criticism of Trump. They used words like “idiot,” ”loathsome,” ”menace” and “disaster” to describe him. In one text four days before the election, Page told Strzok that the “American presidential election, and thus, the state of the world, actually hangs in the balance.”

In another text, Page wrote Strzok in August 2016: “(Trump’s) not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”

Strzok responded: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”

  • Yeah, THAT’S the guy you want involved in the Clinton investigation, the Russia investigation, and on the Special Counsel’s team – all of which he was.
  • I’m not surprised by this. Strzock was a walking public and congressional relations nightmare for the FBI.
  • Read more HERE.

3. Sumter County charter school opens. 

  • This is a cool story.
  • When University Charter School opened Monday in Livingston, it was more than a milestone for school choice and accountability.
  • Amazingly, it represented the first truly integrated public school in the county’s history.
  • As’s Trisha Crain reports, Sumter was like a lot of counties where white parents chose to send their kids to private academies beginning in the 1960s when integration hit. That led to a self-segregated school system.
  • Now, the parents – white and black – have a new quality public option thanks to the first rural charter school in Alabama.
  • It’s a cool milestone and one we should mark, but I bet folks there won’t much care or think about the race factor after a few weeks. And that’s a good thing.
  • Go right now and read Trisha’s story and see some of the photos.

4. Jones feels pressure from the left. 

  • When we talk about the pressure on Sen. Doug Jones as it concerns his vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, it’s usually about how those on the political right are pressuring him to vote YES.
  • The ads, the digs from the GOP, people like me writing about it.
  • But remember: Jones is under plenty of pressure from his Democratic base to vote NO.
  • That truth came into relief yesterday when a town hall heckler (gotta love a town hall heckler) told Jones he should already have his mind made up to vote against Trump’s pick for the high court.
  • Howard Koplowitz always seems to be in the right place at the right time, and he got the whole thing on record:

“You have enough information. We love you. But you will vote no. And you have enough information to vote no,” the woman said before throwing the stuffed lips toward Jones. “You can kiss my a– if you vote yes. You can kiss my a– if you vote yes. You can kiss my a–.”

  • You really should read his full story, especially if you are unsure of the spelling of those censored words.
  • It’s a reminder that Jones is going to make some people mad no matter what he does.
  • It also affirms what I wrote back in July:

…could you imagine the uproar among Alabama conservatives if Jones cast the deciding vote against Trump’s nominee? Likewise, could you imagine the uproar among Alabama liberals if Jones cast the the deciding vote for Trump’s nominee? He’s probably hoping the margin isn’t close and his vote isn’t seen as consequential either way.

  • Tough gig, but that’s what you sign up for…

5. News briefs. 

Dothan student caught with gun

  • A Dothan High School student was arrested Monday after being caught with a loaded handgun.
  • The Dothan Police Department says their investigation showed the gun was stolen from a vehicle.
  • Read the full story in The Dothan Eagle.

Bummer: students sent back to 8th grade

  • A dozen students in Alabama expecting to start high school last week are heading back to the eighth grade because the school system can’t seem to find their grades.
  • Bessemer City Schools Superintendent Dr. Keith Stewart said the students were initially promoted to the ninth grade at Bessemer City High School, but then sent back because there was no record of the students passing a remedial class they were taking.
  • Read more from AP.

“In God We Trust” to make a comeback in Alabama schools

  • The nation’s motto may be making a comeback in Alabama schools this year thanks to legislation sponsored by State Rep. David Standridge.
  • Standridge told Fox News he sponsored the bill partly out of a way to help give students peace and comfort in the wake of all the violence and threats, as opposed to lockdowns and confusion over gun policies.
  • Of course, the law will probably be challenged, and opponents are already lining up.
  • Read more and watch. Rep. Standridge’s Fox News interview HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘In God We Trust’ motto makes comeback in Alabama schools. 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump signs bill authorizing $716 billion for national defense. 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Under new law, military kids get sexual assault protections.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama $522 million Army contract for inflatable antennas.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – FBI fires Peter Strzok in wake of anti-Trump text messages.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmakers impeach all 4 W. Va. court justices over spending.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Prosecution rests in Manafort tax evasion and fraud trial.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Students sent back to middle school over missing grades.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 4 plead guilty to drug charges in Montgomery

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Montgomery lawyer calls multiple sclerosis discrimination in workplace a ‘crisis’.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – ‘In God We Trust’ motto could be coming to Alabama schools.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Contributor Amanda Scott:  Alabama hurts vulnerable citizens by refusing to expand Medicaid and imposing work requirements.

OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Editor Troy Turner:  Space Force or Space Farce? This isn’t a toy story.

DOTHAN EAGLE – Regional effort needed for interstate.

DOTHAN EAGLE – Lance Griffin: One email makes your entire week. 

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Dale Jackson: As long as Nancy Worley leads the Alabama Democratic Party, they will remain stuck on the toilet.

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Gov. Ivey continues to talk about education policy as Maddox imitates Clint Eastwood routine.

ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – Hagan is “hitting the campaign trail hard”.

ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – Columnist Josh Moon:  Alabama Democrats can’t rebound without a change in leadership.

FORBES – Inside Birmingham’s Bid To Become The Southern Silicon Valley.

GADSDEN TIMES – Longtime civil rights activist Williams dies.

AL.COM – Doug Jones heckled over Brett Kavanaugh at Birmingham town hall.

AL.COM – Rural Alabama charter opens as first integrated school in Sumter County.

AL.COM – 3 Alabama residents contracted Zika virus in 2018.

AL.COM – High cost of multiple sclerosis treatment blamed for firings.

AL.COM – Forbes takes a look at Birmingham’s bid to become a ‘Southern Silicon Valley’.

AL.COM – Religious boarding school, once raided in Alabama, now subject of Texas investigation.

AL.COM – 2 Alabama cities on list of worst places to raise children.

AL.COM – Alabama Democratic chair Nancy Worley responds to critics.

AL.COM  – ‘Our blood runs through that ditch’: Family confronts racially-motivated 1948 Alabama murder.

WASHINGTON POST – ‘Everyone signed one’: Trump is aggressive in his use of nondisclosure agreements, even in government.

WASHINGTON POST – ‘Immigration hypocrite’: Stephen Miller’s uncle lambastes him in scathing op-ed.

WASHINGTON POST – Drug companies don’t want to be involved in executions, so they’re suing to keep their drugs out.

WASHINGTON POST – London police are treating car incident as terrorist attack.

NEW YORK TIMES – Turkey’s financial crisis test Erdogan’s authoritarian approach.

NEW YORK TIMES – A Year After Charlottesville, Disarray in the White Supremacist Movement

NEW YORK TIMES – The Large Hidden Costs of Medicare’s Prescription Drug Program.

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