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Daily News Digest – October 27, 2020

Presented by

Auburn University

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, October 27.


1. Barrett confirmed, sworn in as Supreme Court justice

  • Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court late Monday by a deeply divided Senate, with Republicans overpowering Democrats to install President Donald Trump’s nominee days before the election and secure a likely conservative court majority for years to come.
  • Trump’s choice to fill the vacancy of the late liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg potentially opens a new era of rulings on abortion, the Affordable Care Act and even his own election. Democrats were unable to stop the outcome, Trump’s third justice on the court, as Republicans race to reshape the judiciary.
  • Barrett, 48, will be able to start work Tuesday, her lifetime appointment as the 115th justice solidifying the court’s rightward tilt.
  • “This is a momentous day for America,” Trump said at a primetime swearing-in event on the South Lawn at the White House. Justice Clarence Thomas administered the Constitutional Oath to Barrett before a crowd of about 200.
  • Barrett told those gathered that she believes “it is the job of a judge to resist her policy preferences.” She vowed, “I will do my job without any fear or favor.”
  • Alabama’s senators were split on the confirmation vote. Republican Richard Shelby voted to confirm Barrett, saying he had “never seen a more eminently qualified judicial nominee.”
  • Democratic Sen. Doug Jones voted against confirmation, as he had pledged to do even before Barrett was nominated due to his opposition to what he felt was a “flawed process.” (His full explanation in the podcast below.)
  • Read more about the confirmation HERE.


2. In the Weeds w/ Sen. Doug Jones

  • With one week to go in the 2020 campaign, we are officially in the homestretch for the race for U.S. Senate in Alabama.
  • Democratic Sen. Doug Jones is fighting to get reelected to a full term and, as the latest polling showed yesterday, he’s got an uphill battle in a heavily Republican state.
  • In our new “In the Weeds” podcast, I talked with Sen. Jones about his reelection efforts, his opposition to the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett and various other issues in the campaign.
  • Among the most interesting parts are his discussion of the abortion issue, including Alabama’s 20 week ban, his opposition to ending the filibuster and how he believes he could be a moderating influence on a potential Joe Biden administration.
  • You can watch, listen and read a transcript of our interview HERE.
  • Podcast subscribers can also access the episode via Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, and Spotify.






A message from

Auburn University

At Auburn, we take our responsibility to heal, protect, discover and sustain seriously, and we recognize our actions have long-standing positive effects.
From serving under-represented populations through groundbreaking research and community outreach, to leading cyber security enforcement on a national level, to improving the physical environment our next generation will inherit, at Auburn, we are what we do.

3. More than 200,000 Alabama votes already cast

  • A record 200,000 Alabamians have already voted in the November election amid an early voting push and pandemic rules that made it easier to vote by absentee ballot.
  • Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said Monday that 271,318 absentee ballots have been requested, and 206,552 of those ballots have been returned. The previous record was 89,000, he said.
  • Alabama does not technically have early voting, but people can cast absentee ballots by mailing them in or filling them out at local elections offices. Normally, to vote absentee, people must swear that they are out of town or ill or working during polling hours. But this year, Merrill has said people can vote by absentee ballot if they are concerned about the risk of COVID-19 at the polls.
  • The last day to apply for an absentee ballot and for in-person absentee voting is Oct. 29. An absentee ballot returned by mail must be postmarked no later than the day prior to the election and received by the absentee election manager no later than noon on election day. If hand-delivered, the ballot must be in the office of the Absentee Election Manager by the close of business on the day prior to the election.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.
  • Nationally, early and absentee voting has seen more than 58.6 million ballots cast, already eclipsing the 58 million such ballots cast in 2016.
  • Democrats have continued to dominate early voting, but Republicans are narrowing the gap.
  • On Oct. 15, Democratic registrants cast 51% of all ballots reported, compared with 25% from Republicans. On Sunday, Democrats had a slightly smaller lead, 51% to 31%.
  • Most GOP voters are expected to vote on Election Day.
  • Read more about that HERE.



4. Latest on Hurricane Zeta

  • Zeta is now a hurricane.
  • The storm made landfall near Cancun, Mexico Monday and is now entering the Gulf of Mexico with an aim toward the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coastline.
  • Landfall should come Wednesday evening over southeast Louisiana as an upper-end tropical storm or minimal hurricane.
  • According to forecasters, Zeta will be weakening as it approaches the American coast due to cooler waters and an increase in southwesterly shear over the system. It will will be capable of producing wind gusts to 50 mph over Mobile and Baldwin counties Wednesday night and gusts to 35 mph across the Florida Panhandle. Some storm flooding is possible as well.
  • Read more from James Spann and see the latest storm track HERE.



5. News Briefs


SEC fines Lane Kiffin over officiating complaints

  • BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Southeastern Conference has fined Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin $25,000 for his complaints about officiating on social media.
  • The league announced the fine on Monday, but also said the replay official should have stopped play to review the call after Mississippi’s fourth-quarter kickoff appeared to have touched the right hand of Shaun Shivers. The Rebels recovered in the end zone but the on-field call was that Shivers didn’t touch it and play wasn’t halted for a review.
  • It’s unclear which social-media posts drew the fine but Kiffin did retweet one calling the officiating “a disgrace.”
  • Earlier Monday, Kiffin said he had spoken to SEC coordinator of officials John McDaid about the play. He said he was instructed not to publicly disclose the explanation given by McDaid.
  • “I asked the side judge, ‘Why aren’t they replaying it? Do I need to challenge?'” Kiffin said before the fine was announced. “He said, ‘They’ve already looked at it. There’s nothing there.’ I’m not allowed to say anything about the conversation but I really wish that our fans and players could hear what I was told.”
  • Full story HERE.

Man accused of sexual misconduct at corrections program

  • ATHENS, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man was accused of sex crimes involving three victims while he was working with a county corrections program, officials said Monday.
  • James Michael Hardaway, 61, of Elkmont was arrested on sexual misconduct and ethics charges on Friday, according to a statement from the attorney general’s office.
  • Hardaway, who used to work as an officer with Limestone County Community Corrections, was accused of misconduct with three people while they were in the custody of the program. He also was accused of using his job to solicit sex.
  • Court records were not immediately available to show whether Hardaway had an attorney to speak on his behalf.

Authorities: 2 girls in truck led police on 30-mile chase

  • ARGO, Ala. (AP) — Two young girls in a pickup truck led police on a chase of at least 30 miles through metro Birmingham, Alabama authorities said.
  • News outlets reported the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office received a report about the unauthorized use of a vehicle. Bessemer police spotted the vehicle Sunday afternoon with an 11-year-old girl and another girl believed to be 11 or 12 inside.
  • A chase that reached speeds of 80 mph went up Interstate 59 and ended when the truck wound up in a ditch.
  • Justin O’Neal, a spokesman for the Alabama state troopers, said no one was injured. Both girls were in custody awaiting transfer to the Department of Human Resources.

200-pound tortoise is back home after escaping Alabama pen

  • SARDIS CITY, Ala. (AP) — A 200-pound tortoise named Sparkplug that escaped from a pen in Alabama is back home after a journey across two counties and at least one soybean field.
  • Sparkplug, a 60-year-old African spurred tortoise that lived in an enclosure in Etowah County, pushed its way out of the fenced pen on Thursday. A motorist who spotted the animal on the side of the road took it to his 200-acre (81-hectare) spread in Marshall County, owner Ty Harris told The Gadsden Times in a story Monday.
  • Harris found out what had happened after using social media to spread the word about Sparkplug, but there was still the matter of finding the tortoise on the land where he’d been released.
  • A big, roaming tortoise leaves tracks, and area farmers were able to see where Sparkplug had plowed through soybean fields. The man who initially released Sparkplug into the wild found the tortoise and returned it to Harris on Saturday.
  • “He just had a couple of days out on the town,” said Harris.
  • Harris used to operate a wildlife sanctuary in the area and got Sparkplug from a family in New Jersey that couldn’t keep the animal.





ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Barrett confirmed by Senate for Supreme Court, takes oath


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In the Weeds with Sen. Doug Jones


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – More than 200,000 Alabama absentee votes already cast


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Early vote total exceeds 2016; GOP chips at Dems’ advantage


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – James Spann: Zeta to bring rain to Alabama Wednesday, Thursday


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – SEC fines Lane Kiffin over officiating complaints


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New poll: Tuberville leads Jones going into final week


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – COVID-19-caused dip in kindergarten enrollment concerns educators


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – October 26, 2020


AL.COM – Alabama’s COVID hospitalizations grow 200+ in a month, state adds 1,000 cases


AL.COM – Doug Jones slams Amy Coney Barrett SCOTUS confirmation as ‘power grab’


AL.COM – Mobile judge belittles Kay Ivey as ‘Gov. MeMaw’ in court order


AL.COM – Alabama schools close due to COVID: 3 more high schools go virtual


AL.COM – Alabama US Senate race 2020: Tommy Tuberville has 13-point lead over Doug Jones, poll shows


AL.COM – Contributor Michael Wilson: Magic City Acceptance Academy: Some unable to see past five letters


AL.COM – Tropical Storm Zeta: What can Alabama expect?


AL.COM – Tallest peak in Jefferson County targeted for mining, neighbors fight back


AL.COM – Do Bama fans detest Tommy Tuberville more than Democrats?


AL.COM – Medical marijuana in Mississippi? Voters to consider 2 proposals


Montgomery Advertiser – Deputies seek man wanted in stolen cash drawer case


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery County Deputies searching for man who walked out of Subway with cash drawer


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama Senate race poll: Tommy Tuberville holds double-digit lead over Doug Jones


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Rest before flu shot good for immune system


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Bessemer police investigating after woman shot Monday night


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – UA economists forecast when Alabama will recover from COVID-19


Tuscaloosa News – Newsweek names Bryant Bank best small bank in state


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama Senate race poll: Tommy Tuberville holds double-digit lead over Doug Jones


Tuscaloosa News – Absentee votes in Alabama pass 200,000, shattering records with 3 days of in-person voting left


Times Daily – Taiwan says new arms purchases to boost credible defense


Times Daily – The Latest: German area goes into de-facto virus lockdown


Times Daily – Bomb at seminary in Pakistan kills 8 students, wounds 136


Anniston Star – Anniston council called meeting canceled due to lack of quorum


Anniston Star – Jacksonville council honors outgoing members


Anniston Star – GROWING UP: Martin says Ohatchee’s Ennis ‘is more of a quarterback at quarterback’ than in the past


YellowHammer News – Tuberville: Jones’ vote against Barrett ‘represented the liberal beliefs of his high-dollar campaign donors in California and New York’


YellowHammer News – Amy Coney Barrett confirmed to SCOTUS: Shelby votes ‘aye,’ Jones ‘no’


YellowHammer News – NFIB names Alabama’s congressional Republicans as ‘Guardians of Small Business’


Gadsden Times – Late Gadsden writer contributed lasting stories of fantasy and suspense


Gadsden Times – Etowah County’s new COVID-19 cases reach highest point since early August


Gadsden Times – Gadsden writer’s work was reflection of her time, including sometimes insensitive language


Dothan Eagle – Decorated ‘hope rocks’ to be spread across community for domestic violence awareness


Dothan Eagle – Man arrested in investigation into FBI scam targeting Dothan convenience store


Dothan Eagle – Man charged with sexual abuse in Dothan convenience store encounter


Opelika-Auburn News – Watch now: 50th annual Pioneer Day celebrates rural Alabama


Opelika-Auburn News – Valley man found dead in Lee County


Opelika-Auburn News – Local petting zoo Jubilee Farm adapts to coronavirus event closures


WSFA Montgomery – More COVID-19 tests coming to Alabama


WSFA Montgomery – Gulf Coast cautious ahead of latest tropical system


WSFA Montgomery – Husband in world’s longest-lived couple dies at 110 after pandemic brings depression


WAFF Huntsville – Community members, pastors, ask Albertville city council to remove Confederate monument


WAFF Huntsville – Construction workers save elderly woman from sinking car near Elkmont


WAFF Huntsville – North Alabama Red Cross preparing for another storm


WKRG Mobile – One week away: Take our ‘how well do you know the candidates?’ quiz


WKRG Mobile – Coronavirus deaths are rising again in the US, as feared


WKRG Mobile – Skull found on fireplace mantle that of missing Tennessee man


WTVY Dothan – Three candidates vying to be the next Henry County schools superintendent


WTVY Dothan – Police: Man used debit card stolen during FBI imposter scam at Dothan store


WTVY Dothan – Houston County election officials test machines prior to election Day


WASHINGTON POST  – Senate confirms Barrett to Supreme Court, cementing its conservative majority


WASHINGTON POST  – Supreme Court rejects request to extend Wisconsin’s deadline for counting mail-in ballots


WASHINGTON POST  – Trump, Biden both campaign in Pennsylvania as Supreme Court pick confirmed


NEW YORK TIMES – Supreme Court Won’t Extend Wisconsin’s Deadline for Mailed Ballots


NEW YORK TIMES – Senate Confirms Barrett, Delivering for Trump and Reshaping the Court


NEW YORK TIMES – In Swearing In Barrett, Trump Defiantly Mimics ‘Superspreader’ Rose Garden Ceremony


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Countries Try Shorter Covid-19 Quarantines in Bid to Boost Compliance


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Investors’ Bets Eye a Biden Victory, Robust Stimulus


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Global Banks in Hong Kong Breathe Easier Over U.S. Sanctions




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