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Daily News Digest – December 18, 2018

Good morning! Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, December 18.


1. Shutdown clock management.

  • The fight over President Donald Trump’s $5 billion wall funds has deepened, threatening a partial government shutdown.
  • The clock is now at four days, with time running out Friday at midnight.
  • Monday brought few signs of progress. A partial shutdown risks disrupting government operations and leaving hundreds of thousands of federal employees furloughed or working without pay over the holiday season.
  • These things almost always go to the last minute and sometimes there is more to it than meets the eye.
  • Sen. Richard Shelby indicated there are other issues on the table than just a border wall.
  • “There are ongoing negotiations. Not just on the wall but other things,” Shelby told reporters Monday evening after meeting with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  • It sounds like Republicans are pretty much waiting for the White House to make a deal with Democrats, which may or may not happen before the Friday deadline.
  • Read more on the situation HERE.


2. Auburn gets coveted R1 designation.

  • Auburn University is being elevated to an “R1”research institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education – a significant milestone that university officials say is a testament to their commitment to “life saving research.”
  • Auburn goes from its former “high research” R2 classification to the “very high research activity” R1 label. The R1 designation by Carnegie is reserved for doctoral universities with the highest levels of research activity.
  • Auburn President Steven Leath has made a recommitment to research his defining mission since coming to Auburn in 2016.
  • Leath has strategically focused efforts for the University to serve as a partner to government, business and industry for the purpose of solving problems, creating and retaining jobs in the state and improving quality of life.
  • “Auburn is on the move, and this prestigious distinction recognizes Auburn’s critical role in creating new knowledge and helping others live better lives,” he said.
  • Read more about the new designation and Auburn’s efforts HERE.


3. Austal to build two more LCS.

  • The U.S. Navy will contract Mobile-based Austal USA to build two additional Littoral Combat Ships in the fiscal 2019 budget cycle.
  • The contract hasn’t been finalized yet but notice from the Department of Defense says it will soon be completed.
  • Austal has already delivered eight of these ships with six currently under construction and three awaiting construction. With the addition of these two new ships, that means Austal USA is positioned to build 19 Independence-class littoral combat ships. Austal also builds the Navy’s highly-successful Expeditionary Fast Transports (EPF) in Mobile.
  • The specific value of each contract is under the congressional cost cap of $584 million per ship.
  • The news got positive reactions from federal lawmakers, including Sen. Richard Shelby, Sen. Doug Jones, and Congressman Bradley Byrne.
  • The shipbuilder is Mobile’s largest employer.
  • Read more from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.

4. Bradford family protests takeover.

  • Relatives of E.J. Bradford are claiming that the state takeover of the investigation into his shooting by police is a bid by authorities to protect the officer involved.
  • April Pipkins, Bradford’s mother, said the move by Attorney General Steve Marshall to assume control of the probe seemed aimed at shielding the officer.
  • The family’s lawyers contend the case should have been left with newly-elected Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr, who is black, or given to Lynneice Washington, another black district attorney who handles cases in the western part of the county.
  • Marshall took over the case last week after correspondence with Carr seeking to avoid conflicts of interest.
  • The lead protester who has been aggressively denouncing police action actively campaigned for Carr’s election and the two have been pictured celebrating together.
  • AG spokeswoman Joy Patterson said correspondence shows Carr “directly conveyed to Attorney General Marshall the presence of Carr’s perceived conflicts in this matter” and that Marshall “acted on standard procedure to assume prosecution.”
  • “The Attorney General’s Office will ensure that the Hoover mall shooting cases are handled with the highest degree of fairness and professionalism as we pursue justice for all parties,” she said.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Matthew Stokes: We’ll miss The Weekly Standard.

  • Like many conservatives, ADN Columnist Matthew Stokes is lamenting the demise of The Weekly Standard.
  • The magazine shut its doors this week, ending a proud tradition of thought-provoking journalism.
  • The magazine was known most recently for never warming to President Donald Trump, which may have contributed to its downfall.
  • Still, Stokes writes, that’s what you want out of a journal like The Weekly Standard.
  • You’d rather have smarties making you think than sycophants telling you not to.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“There are two problems at work here; we have forgotten how to sit still and we have forgotten how to think. The rapid fire nature of social media and the continuous news cycle have left us all jittery. I am as guilty of this as anyone else. When I can glean bits and pieces of news and ideas from a couple of tweets and fifteen minutes of radio, it is easy to feel like I’ve got a handle on things without any deeper engagement. To the second point, social media, cable news, and talk radio simply demand something different from us. It’s not necessarily bad. There are excellent Twitter feeds, television programs, and radio shows, but they rarely demand the thought and contemplation that is called forth by a strong piece of journalism or an essay on a serious topic. 
This is what conservatives will miss from The Weekly Standard.”
  • Read his full column HERE.


News Briefs.

Like Grandma & Grandpa used to play
  • The band Alabama will mark its 50th year together with a new tour in 2019.
  • The announcement comes a year after founding member Jeff Cook announced that he has Parkinson’s disease.
  • The Grammy-winning trio of Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Cook formed in 1969 in Fort Payne and went on to dominate the sound of country music in the 1980s, scoring dozens of No. 1 hits, including classics like “Mountain Music” and “Dixieland Delight.”
  • Guitarist and fiddle player Cook announced in 2017 that he had been diagnosed with the chronic neurological disorder years ago and he would limit his touring with the band.
  • Cook will perform on their new tour, which begins Jan. 10 in Detroit, as much as he’s physically able.
Space Force coming
  • President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order today creating a U.S. Space Command that will better organize and advance the military’s vast operations in space, U.S. officials say.
  • Vice President Mike Pence will make the announcement at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
  • Trump’s order is separate from his oft-stated goal of creating a “Space Force” as an independent armed service branch, but it’s considered a step in that direction. The move will launch a long and complicated process, requiring the Defense Department to pull together various space units and agencies from across the military services into a more coordinated, independent organization.
  • The U.S. Air Force’s existing Space Command would be a key component of the new joint entity, raising space to the same status as U.S. Cyber Command.
  • Alabama’s Rep. Mike Rogers has been a longtime proponent of creating a Space Force and has at times been considered a leading candidate to be selected by Trump to lead it.
  • Read more HERE.
In Russia, the face books you
  • A new report compiled for the Senate Intelligence Committee documents Russia’s sweeping political disinformation campaign on U.S. social media during the 2016 campaign.
  • It was more far-reaching than originally thought, with troll farms working to discourage black voters and “blur the lines between reality and fiction.”
  • Remember that Pokemon Go app? Yeah, the Russians were into that.
  • It’s also still ongoing. Read more about that HERE.
  • Meanwhile, a Yahoo reporter is now saying the dossier used to justify secret surveillance on Trump Tower was based on false information.
  • This comes on top of news that Hillary Clinton hired a firmto help challenge and delegitimize the results of the 2016 election.
  • It’s a big messy world out there.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Auburn gets coveted “R1” research designation
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Austal USA awarded contact for two more LCS ships
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump plans to create US Space Command
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Country band Alabama mark 50 years with new tour
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Matthew Stokes: We’ll miss The Weekly Standard
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Report: Russia still using social media to roil US politics
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Little if any progress as partial government shutdown looms
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Family: Alabama tries to shield officer who killed black man
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 2 dead after train crashes into vehicle on tracks in Alabama
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – December 17, 2018
AL.COM – Public hearing on Pleasant Grove elections closed after lawsuit challenges city’s at-large voting
AL.COM – Passenger reported missing from Mobile-based Carnival Fantasy cruise ship
AL.COM – Woman found shot in north Alabama; taken to Huntsville Hospital
AL.COM – Hemp farming coming to Alabama but still months away
AL.COM – Wickles Pickles moving production back to Alabama
AL.COM – Navy wants two more Littoral Combat Ships from Austal
AL.COM – 2 women arrested on drug charges at Alabama prisons over the weekend
AL.COM – Columnist Dana McCain: Peace around the table
AL.COM – Alabama House of Representatives keeping chairs of key committees
AL.COM – Trump blasts ex-Attorney General Jeff Sessions…again
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Mack will be back: Alabama star Mack Wilson’s mom says he’s returning for senior year
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Two Montgomery schools try to attract students left in lurch by Virginia College’s closing
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Montgomery man pleads guilty to manslaughter in 2016 homicide case
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Alabama family devastated after shocking theft of father’s cremated remains
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Decatur City Schools to stage rock shows for learning
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Vice News pits Winston County against the Bronx to show America’s divide on Trump, Mueller
DOTHAN EAGLE – Superintendent: Many Dothan school change decisions have already been made; but many more are ahead
DOTHAN EAGLE – Attorney appointed for man charged in Dothan motel murder
DOTHAN EAGLE – Mike West to extend time as Dothan’s city manager
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Alabama judge recovering after wife killed in Colorado crash
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Defendants get 30 years in kidnapping, murder case
DECATUR DAILY – Council wants clarification of debris city will haul off
DECATUR DAILY – Family: Alabama tries to shield officer who killed black man
DECATUR DAILY – I-65 lane closure planned for Tuesday
TIMES DAILY – Cox Boulevard right of way acquisition cost revised
TIMES DAILY – Faculty groups respond to censure issue
TIMES DAILY – Sheffield council approves resolutions for USDA loans
TROY MESSENGER – Dominance: Trojans too much for Andalusia in sweep
TROY MESSENGER – Patriots find success at the Abbeville Christian Holliday Classic
TROY MESSENGER – Patriots end busy stretch on a seven-game winning streak
THE ANNISTON STAR – Heflin finally pulls off ‘perfect’ parade
THE ANNISTON STAR – Jacksonville judge: City court needs help handling rise in traffic tickets
THE ANNISTON STAR – Holidays On Ross And Heflin Christmas Parade
GADSDEN TIMES – Woman indicted for assault in assisted living case
GADSDEN TIMES – Cherokee County man arrested for drug trafficking
GADSDEN TIMES – Gilley family Christmas display wins ‘Light Fight’
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – ‘In the flow’: Dillingham gets acclimated at OC with QB questions looming
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Lee County inmate escapes custody Monday afternoon
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Ready to ride: Opelika-Auburn residents await construction of joint skate park
CULLMAN TIMES – Plans for Nesmith Park move ahead
CULLMAN TIMES – Rock the South looking at different properties for new venue
CULLMAN TIMES – Man wanted on murder charge caught in Cullman
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Chelsea hosts Christmas parade, Mingle event
New sessions at library strive to sharpen senior minds
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Santa to visit North Shelby neighborhoods on Dec. 22
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – THS Kent Dairy Road entrance now open
THE MADISON RECORD – New sessions at library strive to sharpen senior minds
THE MADISON RECORD – State Rep. Mike Ball secures grant for new Dublin Park fountain
THE MADISON RECORD – Sparkman High and Liberty Middle Schools Win State Titles In Cheer Competition
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Trawick receives ‘Flourish Award’ from Jasper Main Street
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Holiday closings, garbage schedules announced
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – A generation of progress
NEW YORK TIMES – Tech Companies Dragged Feet on Russian Interference Data, Reports Say
NEW YORK TIMES – Five Takeaways From New Reports on Russia’s Social Media Operations
NEW YORK TIMES – Goldman Sachs Faces New Criminal Charges, Deepening Crisis for Wall Street Giant
WASHINGTON POST – Russian disinformation teams targeted Robert S. Mueller III, says report prepared for Senate
WASHINGTON POST – Republicans seek to expand Trump’s support for 2020, but will the president cooperate?
WASHINGTON POST – Former CBS chairman Les Moonves fired for cause, will not receive severance in wake of sexual misconduct allegations
USA TODAY – Elon Musk’s Boring Co. to show off Los Angeles transportation tunnels
USA TODAY – ‘Bambi’ is deer poacher’s punishment after hundreds of trophy bucks slaughtered illegally
USA TODAY – Redacted portions of FBI interview with Michael Flynn released ahead of sentencing
POLITICO – Fate of criminal justice reform bill hinges on Cotton amendments
POLITICO – Trump keeps GOP in suspense over shutdown
POLITICO – Trump offering farmers extra $4.9 billion in trade relief

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