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Daily News Digest – August 15, 2018

Good morning! My sincere apologies for the tardiness. Slept through several alarms and was only stirred by a call from Washington (that’ll do it). It won’t happen again. Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, August 15, 2018.

1. There’s a new Catholic priest abuse scandal – and it’s horrific. 

  • A new Grand Jury report shows that more than 1,000 children were subject to sexual abuse and molestation at the hand of Catholic priests – and high level clerics covered it all up.
  • The report came from Pennsylvania, where investigators found that more than 300 priests had been abusing children. About 100 of them are dead now.
  • Cardinal Donald Wuerl (pictured above) is accused of covering the whole thing up while he was bishop of Pittsburg. He’s now the Archbishop of Washington and one of the most influential Catholic bishops in the world.
  • This from the Pennsylvania Attorney General:

“Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing. They hid it all,”

Shapiro said the investigation confirmed a “systematic cover-up by senior church officials in Pennsylvania and at the Vatican.” The report itself provided scant detail about the Vatican’s role, beyond describing a series of confidential reports that bishops made to the Vatican about abusive priests.

2. Kelly Butler named Acting Finance Director. 

  • Kelly Butler will serve as Acting Finance Director, Gov. Kay Ivey announced Tuesday.
  • He replaces Clinton Carter, who is departing the top cabinet post for a senior position in the University of North Carolina System, Alabama Daily News reported in July.
  • Kelly currently serves as Assistant Finance Director and has 30 years of experience in state finances. He’ll continue leading the effort to put the governor’s budgets together ahead of the legislative session.

What’s Next

  • Finance Director is one of the state’s top government positions. So will Kelly Butler ultimately end up with the full appointment?
  • Good question. Sometimes career public servants don’t want politically appointed jobs like this. He may prefer to remain in the merit system, and thus the “acting” moniker makes sense.
  • One name I’m hearing as a potential permanent replacement is State Treasurer Young Boozer. He’s term limited this year and didn’t run for anything else.
  • Young worked in the Finance Department previously and has a wealth of experience he could bring to bear.
  • I haven’t talked to Young yet, though, and I’m not sure he actually wants the job.
  • Read more HERE.


A Message from Leverage Public Strategies

Blake Harris and his team at Leverage Public Strategies recently notched major wins in some of the most consequential primary races:

  • U.S. Rep. Martha Roby’s impressive 67% runoff win;
  • Bill Lee’s campaign from political newcomer to GOP nominee for Tennessee Governor; and
  • State Senate candidate Garland Gudger, who was the only GOP challenger to defeat an incumbent Senator in Alabama’s primary.

Leverage is establishing itself as the “go-to” consulting firm for candidates wanting to get ahead in the highly-targeted analytics and online advertising game.

If you’re looking to take your campaign strategy to the next level, give Blake a shout: [email protected].


3. Kay Ivey talks transition, opportunity at BCA.

  • There were a lot of notable political leaders and special guests down in Point Clear last weekend for the Business Council of Alabama’s annual governmental affairs conference.
  • Senate President Pro Tem Del MarshHouse Speaker Mac McCutcheon and House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels held a state legislative panel that emphasized improving infrastructure, boosting education and helping rural hospitals; Congressmen Mike Rogers, Bradley Byrne and Gary Palmer led a discussion of federal issues that touched on everything from tax cuts to trade tariffs to the Russia investigation.
  • But it was Gov. Kay Ivey who had everyone talking about her keynote speech on transition being a time of opportunity.
  • It was poignant and timely for BCA.
  • That’s what CAROLINE BECK writes in today’s Daily News.
  • Her story is worth your time this morning.

4. Dems in Disarray. 

Four years ago, Worley mailed a holiday letter. It was the sort of Christmas letter your aunt might send to family, recounting that year’s harrowing vacation to the Grand Canyon or your uncle’s gallbladder surgery.

But Worley’s letter didn’t just go to family and immediate friends. She mailed it to party members and donors throughout the state.

In it, she described in detail how she had gotten stuck on the toilet in her home for hours and couldn’t get up.

Before the executive committee voted Saturday, Reed appointed 35 new voting members. Worley, Reed’s hand-picked chairman, won by only 12 votes.

That’s Tammany-style hard knuckle politics right there. And it’s a shame if you’re an Alabama Democrat because it’s a missed opportunity to take advantage of some rare momentum.

  • I think that, more than anything, reelecting Worley is a missed opportunity for Democrats because they finally have some things going for them for the first time in a while.
  • Doug Jones’ victory, increased enthusiasm, etc.
  • A rigged vote engineered by an old school party boss to keep the unpopular, ineffective party chair in place is like a wet blanket to all that momentum.

5. China & Trade

  • I wasn’t kidding when I said President Trump’s tariffs are putting China in a bind.
  • The New York Times reports this morning that the burgeoning trade war is “rattling” China’s leaders.
  • So many of us thought China’s economy was indestructible. Turns out it was something of a house of cards and Trump might be tearing it down.
  • You really should read more HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Report: Pennsylvania priests molested over 1,000 children.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Kelly Butler named Acting Finance Director.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – At BCA, Ivey speaks on transition, opportunity.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama receives “A-” rating from local small business owners.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Sen. Nelson: “Foolish” to deny Russia targeting Florida.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Stacy Column: ‘Blue wave’ may well come, but will it matter in Alabama?

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump lashes out at Omarosa, calls her ‘that dog.’

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Koch Foods announces $80M expansion at Gadsden plant.

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – The media, including some in Alabama, continue endorsing aggressive action by liberals that will lead to violence

DECATUR DAILY – Officials fret over timeline for widening I-565.

DECATUR DAILY – Business incentives demand due diligence.

DECATUR DAILY – Tennessee Riverkeeper plans to sue over Mazda Toyota plant construction.

TUSCALOOSA NEWS – House must do more to forbid potential conflicts.

ANNISTON STAR – Making decisions for Alabama’s schools.

ANNISTON STAR – Don’t do it, Luv Guv.

AL.COM – Gov. Kay Ivey names Kelly Butler acting state finance director.

AL.COM – Doug Jones joins fight; asks EPA to prioritize north Birmingham Superfund cleanup site.

AL.COM – Sen. Doug Jones’ sister Terrie pulls out of state House race.

AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire:  Alabama Democrats’ party chair is really awful at her job.

AL.COM – No immigrant tent cities coming to Alabama, Congressman announces.

AL.COM – Alabama Coca-Cola strike: Are unions gaining ‘momentum’?

AL.COM – Diamondback Energy to buy Energen for $9.2 billion.

AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith:  Ignoring Alex Jones without a tech company’s moral compass.

AL.COM  – Yulista opens new Andalusia aviation facility.

AL.COM – Second environmental group joins fight to protect pygmy sunfish.

AL.COM – Koch Foods announces $80 million expansion in Gadsden, to hire 200.

AL.COM – U.S. News & World Report names Alabama’s best hospitals.

AL.COM – Contributor Elise Bennett:  Huntsville auto plant, rare fish can co-exist.

WASHINGTON POST – With little fanfare, Trump and McConnell reshape the nation’s circuit courts.

WASHINGTON POST – Omarosa claims Betsy DeVos wants to ‘replace public education with for-profit schools’ — and that Trump calls her ‘Ditzy DeVos’.

WASHINGTON POST – New lawsuit challenges Trump administration’s support for Medicaid work requirements.

NEW YORK TIMES – Kavanaugh Could Unlock Funding for Religious Education, School Voucher Advocates Say

NEW YORK TIMES – Trump’s Tariffs Are Changing Trade With China. Here Are 2 Emerging Endgames.

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