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Daily News Digest – October 5, 2018

Good morning and Happy Friday! Here’s your Daily News for October 5.

1. The votes.

  • The U.S. Senate will vote on whether to advance the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at 9:30 a.m. Central Time.
  • (If you’re going to watch, do yourself a favor and watch CSPAN and not some hack network. It’s just the footage, and the callers afterward make for a polite Finebaum show.)
  • Remember: this is the cloture vote, meaning the procedural vote to end debate in 30 hours. The actual confirmation vote is expected Saturday night, or whenever Sen. Steve Daines gets back from his daughter’s wedding.
  • Heitkamp is a NO. Flake, Collins, and Murkowski are still publicly undecided. So is Manchin.
  • Flake and Collins read the FBI report together Thursday and commented that the investigation was “thorough” and that “no corroborating evidence” of claims against Kavanaugh was found.
  • Does that mean they are both YES? Meh, I don’t know.
  • Collins likely is. She has never voted against a SCOTUS nomination in her 22 years in the Senate.
  • Flake is, well, you know.
  • If Murkowski is NO and Collins is YES, that puts the vote at 49-49 will Flake and Manchin deciding the rest. They would both have to vote NO to sink the nomination, which is entirely possible.
  • Lisa Mascaro and Alan Fram have a good rundown of the developments of the last 24 hours HERE.
  • Laurie Kellman takes a deeper look into the factors affecting the key votes HERE.
  • Kavanaugh himself has a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed saying he shouldn’t have been so combative and emotional in the hearing and committing to being an impartial justice. Read that HERE.

2. The politics.

The Big Picture
  • You know who probably wouldn’t mind the Kavanaugh nomination being defeated by one vote? The National Senate Republican Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee.
  • Those are the groups fighting to keep the GOP’s majorities in the Senate and House, respectively.
  • Seething anger from conservatives over the Kavanaugh ordeal has led to surge in GOP voter enthusiasm for the midterms.
  • But, we’re 32 days out of the election. That’s an eternity! Want proof? 32 days ago we were all talking about the Bob Woodward book and the anonymous NYT op-ed. Ancient history!
  • It could be hard for the GOP to sustain that anger-fueled surge through election day if Kavanaugh is confirmed.
  • Should the vote fail, hoo boy, watch out.
  • It even has Democrats wondering if the party has focused too much on this nomination and neglecting other issues like healthcare and the economy.
  • Former Obama pollster Kenneth Baer told The Daily Beast: “The truth is that in nationalized elections—most of which are presidential but some of which can be midterms—if the dominant issue terrain is around the cultural sphere, Democrats lose.”
  • Add to all that the fact that Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony is not aging well as far as corroboration goes.
Closer to Home
  • Sen. Doug Jones spoke to reporters via a conference call yesterday to further explain his opposition to Kavanaugh.
  • He criticized the process and lamented the bitter divisiveness.
  • He did not accept the FBI’s supplemental witness interviews as a “full and fair investigation” because it wouldn’t be conclusive.
  • Granted, Jones said this BEFORE he actually read the FBI report. He left the call to go read it.
  • Even so, Jones’ reasons why have shifted away from the whole investigation thing and toward Kavanaugh’s temperament.
  • Read more about what he had to say on the call HERE.

3. Efficient work, Congressional clout have Austal humming.

  • It has been a good year for Austal USA.
  • The Mobile shipbuilder has been steadily growing and gaining a foothold in the commercial and defense industries since it first opened in 1999, but 2018 has the makings of a banner year.
  • The mini-bus appropriations legislation signed into law by President Trump on Monday includes funding for three Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) and one Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF), both of which are manufactured in Mobile.
  • In all the Navy has bought 17 LCS from Austal: nine delivered, five under construction, and three awaiting start of construction.
  • But with the LCS program eventually phasing out, how will Mobile’s largest employer replace the golden goose?
  • Read more in my story about how Austal is using the reputation of its workers, network of suppliers, and the support of Alabama’s congressional delegation to continue this level of success into the future.

4. Tony Blair in Montgomery.

  • Former British Prime Minister visited Montgomery Thursday in what he said was his first trip to Alabama.
  • He was in town to speak at Faulkner University’s 2018 Benefit Dinner.
  • Blair spoke about the paradox of how unprecedented global prosperity is coinciding with palpable anxiety and fear.
  • He attributed it to what he called the defining characteristic of our time: the speed and degree of change.
  • He spoke of the West as an “alliance of values” and not just nations.
  • He referenced his own Christian faith several times and said Westerners “should not apologize for our Judeo-Christian heritage. We should be proud of it.”
  • It ended kind of late so I wasn’t able to transcribe all of it. But, I’ll try to provide a few more choice quotes in a write up later, including a funny story he told about President Bush.
  • For now read more from Ellis Eskew HERE and check out the photos from Montgomery Advertiser photographer Jake Crandall HERE.

5. News Briefs.

Jobs numbers
  • The American unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in 49 years: 3.7 percent.
  • U.S. employers added 134,000 jobs in September. That’s the fewest in a year, but the number was probably offset but the impact of Hurricane Florence.
  • The United States is currently in the longest ever sustained period of job growth at eight and a half years. Knock on wood.
  • Read more HERE.
Ethics Commission
Secretary Mike Rogers?
  • This should be higher up, but it came in late…
  • Could President Trump make Congressman Mike Rogers Secretary of the Air Force?
  • That’s what Politico Playbook gleaned from a Financial Times report saying Trump isn’t happy with current Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.
  • Wilson has been somewhat of a critic of the Space Force idea. Rogers has championed the Space Force since long before Trump came to town. You do the math.
  • The White House says its not true, FWIW.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jones: ‘Unprecedented ugliness’ over confirmation vote.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Key senators undecided as Senate poised to vote on Kavanaugh.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Eyes on The Five: A look at the deciding votes on Kavanaugh.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ethics panel sends complaint against sheriff to authorities.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Police: Dogs rescued after their owner abandons them.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Efficient work, Congressional clout have Austal humming in Mobile.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – U.S. adds 137K jobs; unemployment at 49-year low.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Tony Blair, former Great Britain Prime Minister visits Montgomery.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – In Montgomery swing, Walt Maddox talks of ‘two Alabamas’.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Contributor Vanzetta McPherson: Male domination starts early and it needs to go away for good.
DOTHAN EAGLE – Level Plains Police Chief Billy Driggers arrested for lewd behavior in Panama City Beach.
DOTHAN EAGLE – Whither civility?
DECATUR DAILY – Jones: ‘Unprecedented ugliness’ over confirmation vote.
GADSDEN TIMES – Miles of Sales
ANNISTON STAR – Marsh plans spending burst in last month of election.
ANNISTON STAR – Terrible truth about college costs in Alabama.
AL.COM – Montgomery County DA says parole board releasing violent offenders at ‘alarming rate’.
AL.COM – Many public universities in Alabama require consent training.
AL.COM – U.S. Education Secretary praises industry and higher education partnerships on Tuscaloosa visit.
AL.COM – Joe Siegelman urges ethics commission to act on complaint against AG Steve Marshall.
AL.COM – Alabama Ethics Commission drops case against ‘Beach House Sheriff’.
AL.COM – Doug Jones says female staffers have been threatened by Brett Kavanaugh supporters.
AL.COM – Montgomery forms TechMGM initiative to grow tech sector.
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Brett Kavanaugh: I am an impartial judge.
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Friend of Dr. Ford Felt Pressure to Revisit Statement.
WASHINGTON POST – Kavanaugh FBI report: Sens. Flake and Collins, key GOP swing votes, express satisfaction with FBI investigation.
WASHINGTON POST – ‘Closest person we have to Martin Luther King Jr.’: Pastor-activist William J. Barber wins $625,000 ‘genius’ grant.
NEW YORK TIMES – Kavanaugh Has Regrets About Testimony: ‘I Said a Few Things I Should Not Have Said’

Front Pages (images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit and patronize)





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