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Daily News Digest – September 10, 2018


Good morning and a Happy Rosh Hashanah to my Jewish friends celebrating! Here’s your Daily News for Monday, September 10, 2018.

1. Two months out.

  • We are two months out from the 2018 election. Actually a little less than two months.
  • Nationally, Democrats are getting confident that the House will flip, while Republicans are starting to say those chances are 50/50.
  • The stakes are high, as Julie Pace writes in a piece worth reading if you want a look into how the midterms are shaping up. I thought Josh Holmes’ quote was spot on.
  • Here’s a simple explanation of how the House Majority breaks down:
  • Republicans hold 239 seats, while Democrats hold 193. There are five vacancies (3R, 2D). That means Democrats need 23 seats to win the 218 seat majority.
  • Cook Political Report’s latest ratings show 10 current GOP seats leaning Democrat, one current Dem seat leaning Republican, and 28 current GOP seats as toss ups. There are two current Dem toss ups.
  • Add all that up and Democrats likely have a 9 seat pick up in the bag. So, Republicans need to win 17 of the 30 toss-ups to retain the majority.
  • That’s a tall task. It’s why 538 puts it at a 2-9 chance.

2. Prisons on the brink.

  • “Officers are getting stabbed. Inmates are getting extorted. There’s no control. It’s not that the officers don’t want to do the job. It’s that there are no officers to do the job.”
  • That’s what one former Alabama corrections officer told Kim Chandler about why he stepped away from the job last year.
  • The picture isn’t pretty for our prison system. We’ll need to just about double our officer ranks to comply with Judge Myron Thompson’s federal court order to improve conditions.
  • DOC has authorized raises and other incentives to hire more staff, but it will take action from the Legislature to fix the problems long term.
  • This past session, lawmakers allocated an additional $85 million to prisons over the next two years. A bigger prison reform package has been talked about by Sens. Cam Ward, Clyde Chambliss, Greg Albritton and others for a few years now.
  • Funding and reforming the prison system aren’t the popular things to do, but ask any state that has been through a federal takeover and they’ll tell you it isn’t fun (automatic tax hikes, prisoner releases, etc).
  • Read Kim’s full story HERE.


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3. Trump’s jabs could overshadow Sessions’ results.

  • Quick test: When you think about Jeff Sessions, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
  • What President Trump will say/tweet next? Whether he’ll keep his job? How he’s handling this tough position he’s been put in? Hide the pot?
  • You probably didn’t think of a fierce crackdown on illegal immigration and MS-13 gang violence, a DOJ focus on violent crime, fighting opioid abuse and so on.
  • Whether you agree on those issues or not, it’s a fact that Sessions has made big strides on those policy goals during his time as Attorney General.
  • That’s to say nothing of helping fill the federal courts with conservative judges, a task in which DOJ plays a significant role along with the White House Counsel’s office.
  • Yet, most if not all of that work is overshadowed by Trump’s displeasure with Sessions – something that has been going on for more than a year now.
  • That’s the conundrum Eric Tucker gets at in this national report.
  • Bonus: he quotes the incorrigible Cameron Smith, whose final comment might sting for Sessions a little, but is nonetheless pretty much true.
  • Full story HERE.

4. Matthew Stokes: Reviewing “Suicide of the West”

  • In his regular Monday piece, ADN columnist Matthew Stokes reviews Jonah Goldberg’s latest book: Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying America.
  • That’s a long title. But, if you follow Goldberg from his appearances on Fox News, his regular work in National Review, or his podcast called “The Remnant” (highly recommend), you know brevity isn’t one of his virtues.
  • Making sense and speaking truth to power are, though. And, according to Stokes, he does plenty of that in his latest title.
  • “Of course, we demonstrate loyalty to our families, but as a political matter, Goldberg is concerned that Americans increasingly find themselves broken apart into various tribes based on race, class, gender, religion, region, or a dozen other qualifications. When Americans start to value what’s best for their own particular tribe, the ideals of the American founding become watered down and ineffective, and we tend to revert back to our earlier, pre-Enlightenment selves. Goldberg certainly recognizes this drift towards identity politics on the Left, but also sees it fomenting on the Right, particularly in the age of Donald Trump.”
  • I’ve been meaning to read Goldberg’s latest, and now I’m convinced I need to.
  • Read Stokes’ full column HERE.

5. News Briefs.

Shooting in Auburn
  • An Opelika teenager has been arrested in the shooting death of a Tuskegee man inside an Auburn McDonalds.
  • The shooting took place Sunday in the early morning hours at the McDonalds right across the street from the Auburn University campus.
  • It’s news because it’s rare. It’s scary for students and parents for the same reason, and a big game day weekend is coming up.
  • Read the full story HERE.
Barkley puts Futures Fund over the top.
  • NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley is the latest to sign up for the Alabama Future Fund.
  • This is a $25 million venture capital fund meant to provide critical early-stage investment dollars for entrepreneurial start-up businesses in Alabama.
  • Protective Life Insurance Company, HOAR Construction, Raymond J. Harbert, G. Ruffner Page Jr., and Benny M. LaRussa Jr. are all part of the fund.
  • Barkley’s investment puts the fund over its $25 million mark. It will only invest in companies headquartered in Alabama.
  • “We see this as an investment in the future of Alabama and look forward to seeing how it contributes to the state’s ever-growing business community,” Protective Executive Vice President Carl Thigpen said.
  • Full story HERE.
Florence could be a machine of misery for East Coast
  • Hurricane Florence could strike a direct and dangerous blow anywhere from the Carolinas to the Mid-Atlantic region later this week, possibly as a fearsome category 4 storm.
  • A Cat 4 storm could be devastating for the Carolina coast and spread flooding up the eastern seaboard to Washington D.C.
  • Navy ships off Virginia’s coast were preparing to sail out of the path and the governors of North and South Carolina have declared a state of emergency.
  • More HERE.
Read John Archibald
  • I’m a few days late to it, but columnist John Archibald had a great piece the other day that is worth your time and attention.
  • “Manifsto” may sound like a scary word, but if you think about its meaning, that might be the most appropriate moniker for what he writes.
  • It’s about being a little disaffected by politics and needing to reaffirm what we believe outside of the daily arguments in this business.
  • “I believe we all screw up, and mistakes become defining moments. We can let them destroy us, or we can use them to be better. That’s what usually happens…
  • “I believe creation is the meaning of life, that creativity – in an office or studio or lab or shop or field or in the mind – separates us from the other beasts on this spinning ball…
  • “I believe conscience is our hope, but it’s a muscle in need of exercise and feeding and regular use.”
  • Read his full piece HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – High stakes as 2-month sprint to Election Day begins.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Prisons face officer shortage, federal court order to boost numbers.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Teen arrested in fatal shooting at Alabama McDonald’s.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Vance outraising Parker in race for chief justice.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Charles Barkley among big names to back Alabama Futures Fund.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Intensifying Hurricane Florence could strike US Southeast.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pence confident no one on his staff wrote NY Times column.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Despite Trump tweet, Ford says it won’t make hatchback in US.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Stokes: Reviewing “Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying America.”
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Martha Roby: Finalizing the Farm Bill.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Jewish communities prepare for high holy days.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Federal program to aid low income areas ready for local investment.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Fire Department burns through overtime budget by more than $2 million.
DOTHAN EAGLE – The Dothan Eagle: Electronic bingo resolved? Don’t bet on it.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Report: Alabama conservatives want Trump to stop attacking Sessions.
CULLMAN TIMES – Pulling the plug on fake news.
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – E.coli levels up near wastewater discharge site.
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Contributor April Thrower: Opioid epidemic: Where will you be when someone needs help?
LAGNIAPPE – GOP House nominee involved in police shooting.
LAGNIAPPE – Columnist Robert Holbert: Insults and insinuations for Sessions.
LAGNIAPPE – Columnist Jeffrey Poor: A lottery will pass this time.
HUFFINGTON POST – Roger Stone Calls On Trump To Fire ‘Insubordinate Hillbilly’ Jeff Sessions
ANNISTON STAR – Candidates focusing election money on ads in local sporting events.
ANNISTON STAR – Editor Anthony Cook: Anonymous op-eds, misguided impulses, the need to resist.
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Trump’s jabs at Sessions could eclipse AG’s accomplishments.
AL.COM – This is the biggest issue facing Alabama: Voting results.
AL.COM – Alabama Republican Chair Terry Lathan says party can do more to recruit African-Americans.
AL.COM – State, congressional political forum set Tuesday night.
AL.COM – ‘We are making history’: Drag Queen Story Hour takes place in Mobile.
AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald: Look up, America. Hope is right in front of you.
WASHINGTON POST – Under Trump, the jobs boom has finally reached blue-collar workers.
WASHINGTON POST – White House expected to warn of sanctions, other penalties if international court moves against Americans.
WASHINGTON POST – Pence plays role of Trump’s ardent defender in wake of Times op-ed and Woodward book.
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Says Tariffs Mean Ford Can Make New Model at Home. Ford Says It Won’t.
NEW YORK TIMES – California Tries New Tack on Gun Violence: Ammunition Control.

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