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Daily News Digest – January 2, 2019

Good morning and Happy Wednesday! Kinds feels like Monday, though, right?
Here’s your Daily News for January 2.

1. “Let’s make a deal?”

  • President Donald Trump has invited Democratic and Republican congressional leaders to a meeting at the White House to talk about border security and perhaps hammer out a government funding deal.
  • The meeting happens at 2:00 Central in the Situation Room.
  • Why the Situation Room? Maybe to help illustrate the seriousness of the border security situation, and maybe also to prevent leaks during the meeting.
  • Remember, Omarosa found out the hard way that leaking from the Situation Room is a “no-no.”
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are expected to attend.
  • So are Nancy Pelosi, who is supposed to be elected House Speaker tomorrow, and top House Republicans Kevin McCarthy of California and Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
  • The meeting invite came as Trump tweeted:
  • “Border Security and the Wall “thing” and Shutdown is not where Nancy Pelosi wanted to start her tenure as Speaker! Let’s make a deal?”
  • Read more here.


2. Romney coming in hot.

“When he won the election, I hoped he would rise to the occasion. His early appointments of Rex Tillerson, Jeff Sessions, Nikki Haley, Gary Cohn, H.R. McMaster, Kelly and Mattis were encouraging. But, on balance, his conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions this month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.
“It is not that all of the president’s policies have been misguided. He was right to align U.S.  corporate taxes  with those of global competitors, to strip out excessive regulations, to crack down on China’s unfair trade practices, to  reform criminal justice  and to appoint conservative judges. These are policies mainstream Republicans have promoted for years. But policies and appointments are only a part of a presidency. To a great degree, a presidency shapes the public character of the nation. A president should unite us and inspire us to follow ‘our better angels.'”
  • Trump defended himself this morning, tweeting:
“Here we go with Mitt Romney, but so fast! Question will be, is he a Flake? I hope not. Would much prefer that Mitt focus on Border Security and so many other things where he can be helpful. I won big, and he didn’t. He should be happy for all Republicans. Be a TEAM player & WIN!”
  • The whole thing seems odd.
  • It might play well in Utah, where Trump isn’t exactly loved by the Mormon population. However, Romney comes in ruffling feathers not just of Trump, but of his fellow Republicans.
  • National Review’s Jay Nordinger says Romney has broken a sort of tacit agreement wherein elected conservatives don’t talk about these things.
  • “… many conservatives will hate Romney for saying these things — not because they think he is wrong but because you’re not supposed to say them, and you make others look bad for not saying them,” he writes.

3. Getting specific on roads.

  • The Alabama Legislature’s 2019 Regular Session is still three months away.
  • But, most agree funding infrastructure improvements is a top – if not THE top – issue they’ll take up.
  • Lots has been written about infrastructure and funding mechanisms, and much more will be.
  • But Jeff Poor took an interesting approach in his latest writeup for YellowHammer, naming ten Alabama highway projects that could be considered if the state found ways to pay for them.
  • No one could call Jeff a shill for raising the gas tax. He’s as conservative as they come, and could even be called a skeptic on the gas tax.
  • But, he writes, if we’re going to raise a tax, we had better get something out of it.
  • He goes specific naming projects all over the state. Give it a read HERE.


4. Guest opinion: Pepper Bryars on Civil Asset Forfeiture.

  • In a guest op-ed today, Pepper Bryars of the Alabama Policy Institute makes the case for the Alabama Legislature taking another stab at civil asset forfeiture reform.
  • There was an effort last session to revise the laws that govern how and when law enforcement can seize property in the course of investigations, but things fell apart late in the session.
  • Bryars argues that the Legislature can now start fresh and take input from law enforcement and victims advocates.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“Proponents of asset forfeiture contend it’s an effective tool for law enforcement and helps keep drug dealers off the streets. Critics believe it goes too far and might even create a perverse financial incentive for police departments to take property from those who cannot defend themselves in court.
“Both sides have valid points. Another complication lies in the inability to know exactly how asset forfeiture is being conducted in Alabama. Law enforcement officials say they process forfeitures ethically, while some critics believe it’s a shadowy and unaccountable practice.
“That, however, should be the simplest complication to settle.”



Some people take a break from the relentless news cycle over the holidays. If that’s you, you have my respect.
So, in case you missed it over the holidays, here are some of the biggest news stories from the past week…
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Mary Sell to Alabama Daily News team for 2019 Regular Session
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New study shows long-term benefits of First Class Pre-K
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AG Marshall to review if 2017 social media scam violated election law
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Shelby: Shutdown could last ‘a long, long time’ if sides won’t negotiate
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama releases letter grades for schools
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State Sen. David Burkette hospitalized

News briefs.

Fired police chief indicted for rape, incest
  • Former Lipscomb, Alabama Sheriff Brian “Scott” Martin has been charged with rape and incest.
  • Martin was fired after being arrested for possession of marijuana and two bongs in his patrol car back in July.
  • According to the indictment, the former Lipscomb police chief raped a family member “incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless or mentally incapacitated.”
  • Read more.
‘Red Hots’ recalled
  • Ziegler has recalled tons of hot sausages because they may be contaminated with bits of metal.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recall notice says it has not had any reports of injury from the R.L. Zeigler Co. sausages, which were shipped nationwide from Selma, Alabama.
  • The notice dated Sunday says the recall affects about 5.8 tons (5.26 metric tons) of chicken and pork sausage labeled as “red hots” — some of them also labeled “extra hot.”
  • They all are 24-ounce (680-gram) packages holding about nine links of sausage with a use-by date of Jan. 24.
  • The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service says Zeigler received complaints on Dec. 13 and 27, investigated them, and notified the agency Saturday.
Human Trafficking
  • A Muscle Shoals man is accused of letting another man have sex with a drugged 17-year-old girl in exchange for drugs.
  • 42-year-old Bobby Joe Speegle of Tuscumbia was arrested Dec. 14 on charges of first-degree human trafficking and giving false information to law enforcement.
  • According to a Muscle Shoals Police Department complaint, Speegle allegedly gave the girl a drugged beverage and delivered her to a 32-year-old man on Nov. 21 in Sheffield. It doesn’t say what drugs Speegle allegedly got in return.
  • Muscle Shoals and Sheffield police are working together, and the other man could face charges.
  • Read the full story from Times Daily reporter Tom Smith.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Mary Sell to join Alabama Daily News for 2019 Regular Session
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Police: Alabama man traded sex with girl, 17, for drugs
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Zeigler recalls hot sausages due to metal bits
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Fired Alabama police chief indicted on rape, incest charges
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US citizen arrested in Russia on spying charges
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pepper Bryars: While the Supreme Court deliberates, Alabama should shine the light on asset forfeiture
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Romney critical of Trump’s ‘character’ in new op-ed
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Congressional leaders to attend White House briefing on border
AL.COM – Jacksonville State University marching band performs at the Vatican
AL.COM – US fires tear gas across Mexico border to stop migrants (Photos)
AL.COM – Minor High senior mourned after deadly shooting at Jefferson County convenience store
AL.COM – To help Birmingham kids, Mayor Woodfin looks to Germany’s apprenticeship model
AL.COM – State and federal education report card delayed again
AL.COM – Alabama business 2019: Mazda Toyota and other projects to bring in billions
AL.COM – Education year in review: Alabama 2018 edition
AL.COM – Jacksonville State University marching band performs at the Vatican
AL.COM – Contributor Stephanie Turrentine:  Alabama’s youthful offenders should be treated as such
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Government shutdown hits small businesses, federal workers
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Blaster Burner Funk takes it ‘Before the Funk’ with four song EP
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Mighty Marching Hornets to perform in Rose Parade for the first time
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Shelby defends independence of Federal Reserve
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Neal McCoy to headline Ivey’s Gulf Coast Inaugural Celebration
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – The gas tax push: Ten Alabama highway projects to consider in 2019
DOTHAN EAGLE – City of Dothan officials accomplish several of the top priorities in 2018
DOTHAN EAGLE – Caution urged for residents as Chattahoochee continues to rise
DOTHAN EAGLE – Souper Bowl food drive to benefit Wiregrass Area Food Bank
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Tuscaloosa streets to be swept this week
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – No serious injuries from fire in Savannah’s Olde Pink House restaurant
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Police close investigation of 9-year-old McKenzie Adams’ suicide
DECATUR DAILY – Newsmaker of 2018: Sheriff Ana Franklin’s tumultuous year began with earlier actions
DECATUR DAILY – Barley takes over as police chief in Hartselle
DECATUR DAILY – Decatur Baptist changes leaders after 33 years
TIMES DAILY – New Year’s baby arrives at Keller Hospital
TIMES DAILY – Utility assistance program available
TIMES DAILY – Shoals officials have much on their plates for 2019
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Officials: Good things in ‘19
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Study: Pre-K has long-term student results
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – SKY IS THE LIMIT FOR FLORALA: Lady Wildcats turning heads with strong start
TROY MESSENGER – BIG CHANGES: Commission making critical decisions for Pike County
TROY MESSENGER – New judges take office January 14
TROY MESSENGER – Troy residents cook traditional meal to bring in new year
THE ANNISTON STAR – Look Back … to a new penalty in effect for DUI
THE ANNISTON STAR – ‘Ring out, wild bells’
GADSDEN TIMES – Police Report for Jan. 1
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Year in Review: Prep teams celebrate state titles, accomplishments through 2018
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – TURNER: News ‘to be continued’ in 2019: Mike Hubbard, Gus Bus, roundabouts and more
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Police reports from Jan. 1
CULLMAN TIMES – Flu season having impact on area
CULLMAN TIMES – Man awaiting manslaughter trial leads police on chase in Cullman
CULLMAN TIMES – (Year in Review: No 1) Hail storm rocks area
THE MADISON RECORD – JROTC at 3 schools accepts American Legion donations
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Jasper drainage project winding down
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Smith promises new community-oriented approach
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – TherapySouth opens first location in Walker County
NEW YORK TIMES – In Newly Divided Government, Who Will Control the Political Agenda?
NEW YORK TIMES – U.S. Agents Fire Tear Gas Across Mexican Border
NEW YORK TIMES – Shutdown Leaves Food, Medicine and Pay in Doubt in Indian Country
WASHINGTON POST – In shutdown, national parks transform into Wild West — heavily populated and barely supervised
WASHINGTON POST – Trump invites congressional leaders to White House for border security briefing
WASHINGTON POST – The Trailer: Welcome to the 2020 Democratic primary
USA TODAY – Donald Trump rejects Democratic funding plan, wishes Happy New Year to ‘haters’
USA TODAY – Chelsea sign Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund; US star loaned back to German club
USA TODAY – Mega Millions: 1 winning ticket sold in New York for $425M jackpot
POLITICO – Changes may be ahead for criticized Georgia election system
POLITICO – Why Trump has spared Pelosi from his personal vitriol — so far
POLITICO – Trump: Ask Warren’s psychiatrist if she thinks she can win in 2020

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