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Daily News Digest – October 10, 2018

Good morning! Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, October 10.


  • In less than 48 hours, Michael has grown from a tropical storm to a dangerous Category 4 Hurricane.
  • It will make landfall this afternoon. In the path: Panama City, Tindall Air Force Base, Port St. Joe and Apalachicola.
  • Meterologists call the storm “unprecedented” because the “Big Bend” area of Florida’s panhandle has never experienced a storm of this magnitude.
  • Dothan and other parts of the Wiregrass are expected to see hurricane-force winds of 70mph.
  • Many evacuees have headed to Alabama, traveling west to Mobile or north to Montgomery and beyond.
  • A shelter has been set at Aldersgate Methodist Church in Montgomery for those fleeing the storm who don’t have a place to stay, Marty Roney reports.
  • Is all the hype blown out of proportion? Some coastal locals think so and aren’t heeding mandatory evacuation calls.
  • “We’ve been through this before,” Apalachicola’s Sally Crown told AP’s Jay Reeves about why she’s going to ride out the storm. “This might be really bad and serious. But in my experience, it’s always blown way out of proportion.”
  • Hope she’s right.

2. Realtors invest big in September.

  • The Alabama Association of Realtors stood out in September as the largest contributor to political campaigns.
  • The group has also increased its spending by more than double since four years ago to almost $400,000.
  • That’s according to Brian Lyman of The Montgomery Advertiser, whose write up on PAC spending in the month of September is worth your time this morning.
  • The timing is interesting. Many other business groups like the Business Council, Alabama Farmers Federation, the Retail Association, Alabama Bankers, etc. invested heavily in the primary, when many of their endorsed candidates faced tough challenges.
  • But candidates have already spent that money, and those facing general election contests covet campaign cash to get over the finish line.
  • The Realtors were mostly quiet during the primary and are now choosing to engage in the general to help elect candidates who share “a commitment to homeownership, private property rights, (and) economic growth and development.”
  • Don’t miss this in Brian’s story: how about AVOTE PAC sitting there with $1.4 million. That has campaign debt retirement written all over it.

3. Lester Holt was a hit.

  • NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt from Montgomery was a big hit for the city and the state.
  • A large portion of the broadcast focused on the city’s civil rights history. Watching Holt start the show walking out of Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church was pretty cool. And his discovery of a possible ancestor whose lynching is marked at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice was chilling.
  • Sure, there are other Alabama and Montgomery things you’d wish could also be highlighted. But all in all it was a great commercial and will no doubt mean tourism dollars for the area.
  • If you didn’t catch it live, watch the broadcast in its entirety along with the transcript of Holt’s visit with Bryan Stevenson HERE.

4. Guy Martin has a point.

  • A few weeks ago, Birmingham real estate attorney Guy Martin wrote an op-ed for The Birmingham News / pointing out some legal and scientific inconsistencies with the effort to expand a North Birmingham EPA Superfund site.
  • It caught my eye because it was the first time I had seen anyone challenge the established narrative that bad guys were trying to poison kids in Tarrant.
  • Not surprisingly, Martin’s work was criticized. The never shy Josh Moon wrote a scathing column calling Martin’s piece “absurd, fact-less and idiotic,” “nauseating, infuriating and pathetic,” and suggested Martin had been paid by those involved with the case to write it.
  • Yeesh.
  • Martin wanted to defend himself, but had no luck trying to publish a response. He got in touch with me this week asking if I’d publish his letter responding to Josh’s criticisms, and I was happy to.
  • Mr. Martin has a point about the EPA, soil testing, and what passes for fact versus opinion.
  • But what I found most interesting were the documents he attached in defense of his analysis. A letter from the EPA to the mayor of Tarrant. A study on soil testing. Court documents agreeing on certain facts.
  • I admit that I didn’t really know there was another side to the story, but I do now and I find it interesting.
  • Again, it’s less about the Oliver Robinson/Drummond/Balch criminal case, and more about the behavior of the EPA and the media narrative.
  • Anyway, read Guy Martin’s response “Science trumps Stupidity” HERE.

5. Skip Tucker: An American patriot defends the Constitution.

Our friend, Skip Tucker is back this week with another graveyard tale, only this one isn’t spooky.
Skip tells the story of young men in search of beer in a dry county , and how a run in with the law taught his posse about their constitutional rights.
Here’s an excerpt:
  • The sale of alcoholic beverages was illegal in the county, which created a booming business and premium prices for bootleggers and moonshiners. It was rare to be more than ten minutes from a friendly back door. Some bootleggers delivered.
  • One perfect temperate autumn night in the South, a full moon beamed from a cloudless sky. The Milky Way was a big road in the heavens, and a light breeze gently rustled the yellowgold leaves in Old Thornton, where Trav had called the boys to gather…
  • Something there is, though, that does not like a good time and, just as the celebration of life was cresting, the boys ran out of beer. A pall was cast on the cemetery. But it was brief. The group ponied up funds and the gallant Keeton headed for the nearest oasis…
Read Skip Tucker’s latest column HERE .


News Briefs.

Ron Anders elected Auburn Mayor
  • City Councilman Ron Anders defeated former Auburn University Professor David Hill to become mayor of Auburn last night.
  • Longtime Mayor Bill Ham is retiring after 20 years on the job.
  • Read more from the Auburn Plainsman HERE.
Kavanaugh takes the bench
  • Justice Brett Kavanaugh took the bench with his new Supreme Court colleagues for the first time Tuesday amid a jovial atmosphere in the high court.
  • The justices were welcoming to Kavanaugh and laughing at one another’s jokes.
  • Kavanaugh was not shy about diving right into his new job, asking questions of litigants before the court.
  • Read more about Kavanaugh’s first day at SCOTUS HERE.
  • His first big case will be about the government’s detention of illegal immigrants, and you can read about that HERE.
We Barely Know Ye
  • Kanye West is at the White House today.
  • He’s having lunch with President Trump and meeting with other advisers, including Jared Kushner.
  • He’s there to talk about manufacturing, prison reform, preventing gang violence and reducing violence in Chicago, where West grew up.
  • Kayne’s wife, Kim Kardashian West met with Trump back in the summer and helped convince him to grant clemency to Alabama’s Alice Marie Johnson.
  • Kanye has been widely criticized by fellow celebrities for his open-mindedness toward and support for Trump.
  • I went to a Kanye concert one time. It was unexpectedly sublime. I doubt 15 in 15,000 in attendance voted for Trump, though.
  • I don’t know where this is going but it is fascinating to watch.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt broadcasts from Montgomery.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Police: Birmingham man whips boy, puts him in bathtub of hot water.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Skip Tucker: A Great American Defends the Constitution.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Guy Martin: Science Trumps Stupidity.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Court mood is jovial as Kavanaugh takes his place on bench.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Supreme Court considering case on detention of immigrants.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump says he may pick new UN ambassador this month.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Kanye West to visit Trump, discuss prison reform, violence.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – As Michael bears down on Florida, Alabama preps for evacuees.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – NBC’s Lester Holt broadcasts from Montgomery.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Biggest political spenders? In September, the realtors topped the list.
DOTHAN EAGLE – Wiregrass braces for Hurricane Michael.
DOTHAN EAGLE – Dothan first responders stay one step ahead of the storm.
TIMES DAILY – Raising awareness to end the stigma of mental illness.
TIMES DAILY – Maddox brings bus tour to Shoals.
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – UA engineering professors create sensor to prevent hot-car deaths.
GADSDEN TIMES – Kids Count reveals both positives, negatives.
ANNISTON STAR – Cleburne County officials worry about cutback in mental health services.
ANNISTON STAR – Trust, or not, in politicians.
AL.COM – Three Alabama charter schools win $1 million each in federal education grant.
AL.COM – Alabama DHR raises low-income child care subsidies.
AL.COM – Planned Parenthood funds campaign to oppose Amendment 2.
AL.COM – Charges dropped against protesters for smearing ketchup on Montgomery statues.
AL.COM – Two years after Megan Rondini’s death, Tuscaloosa SAFE Center opens.
AL.COM – Policing for profit debate continues in Alabama state races.
AL.COM – Broken bars: Jail escapes rattle rural Alabama.
THE WEEKLY STANDARD – Kavanaugh Conservatives vs. Booker Democrats.
WASHINGTON POST – Saudis are said to have laid in wait for journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
WASHINGTON POST – A year after it began, has #MeToo become a global movement?
WASHINGTON POST – Rosenstein faces congressional confrontation amid new claim he seriously suggested wiretapping Trump.
WASHINGTON POST – The Trailer: How eight years – and President Trump – have changed the GOP’s tune on Medicare.
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump, Emboldened by Kavanaugh Victory, Assails ‘Unhinged’ Democrats
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Claims Trade Victories but Businesses Struggle Under His Approach.

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