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Daily News Digest – September 7, 2018


Good morning and Happy Friday! Sad to hear that Burt Reynolds died . “The Bandit” will not soon be forgotten, though. Here’s your Daily News for September 7, 2018.

1. Boom: solid job growth, lowest unemployment in 18 years.

  • The new jobs report for August is out, and it’s a good one.
  • More than 201,000 jobs were added to the economy in August.
  • The unemployment rate held steady at 3.9 percent – the lowest in 18 years.
  • And here’s something: the number of people seeking unemployment benefits — a proxy for layoffs — amounted to just 203,000 last week, the fewest total in 49 years.
  • Economists say the positive economic numbers are fueled by tax cuts, consumer confidence, and more government spending.
  • Read more about the brand new jobs report HERE.

2. Almost done: last day of Kavanaugh hearings.

  • The foolishness is almost over.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee went into the night with the hearing for Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • They’ll come back today for a final day that features testimony from witnesses supporting and opposing the nomination.
  • Democrats continued to hammer Kavanaugh, some using the hearing as a personal political platform for themselves.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris of California had an awkward exchange in which she attempted to read Kavanaugh’s mind.
  • Sen. Cory Booker beclowned himself by making a big deal over how he was risking expulsion from the Senate for publicly releasing some Kavanaugh documents, only to have it revealed later that the documents were already public.
  • All those exchanges are part of the updated story HERE.
  • Republicans want to hold a confirmation vote by the end of the month so that Kavanaugh can be on the bench by the time the Supreme Court’s new term begins on October 1.
  • After this week of ridiculousness, I don’t see Majority Leader Mitch McConnell waiting one day longer than he has to in scheduling a vote.


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3. “Not I,” said the Cat.

  • Pretty much every high-ranking Trump Administration official has come out to say they didn’t do it.
  • They didn’t write the anonymous New York Times op-ed claiming there is a secret conspiracy among senior White House aides to keep the president from making bad decisions, that is.
  • Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, other well-known Cabinet members, ambassadors and staffers are all claiming it wasn’t them.
  • Meanwhile, President Trump suggested it came from “a deep state person” and Republican lawmakers say the tactic will backfire.
  • Speculation now goes to whether the author truly is a top aide or just a mid-level staffer trying to stir up trouble and get attention.
  • Read the latest from the Associated Press HERE and from the Washington Post HERE.

4. Dothan casino agrees to give up machines.

  • Houston County’s “Center Stage” casino has agreed to give up its gambling machines, the Attorney General’s office announced Thursday.
  • This is the development once known as “Country Crossing,” which Ronnie Gilley built and promoted before pleading guilty to bribery as part of the “bingo trial” back in 2010.
  • Under the settlement agreement, Center Stage, agreed to get rid of table games and any “electronic game of chance.” Center Stage can stay open and keep traditional paper bingo and other games that comply with state law.
  • “It is my duty as attorney general to enforce Alabama’s laws and to prevent individuals and organizations from offering illegal gambling in our state,” Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said.
  • “As a result of the state’s suit, (Center Stage) has agreed to remove the games in question and has agreed to change its operations to comply with the law.”
  • Full story HERE.

5. Shelby above the fold.

  • When Sen. Richard Shelby ascended to the Appropriations chairmanship earlier this year, everyone seemed to talk about how cool the top perch would be. But few talked about how difficult the job would be.
  • It’s incredibly difficult, and Erica Werner’s piece in The Washington Post gets at how and why.
  • Shelby has to balance the funding needs and desires of various political factions within his own party while keeping the President happy. And oh yeah, try not to let the government shut down.
  • I really liked this quote he gave Erica:
  • “You can’t do things unilaterally,” Shelby said in an interview. “You know, sometimes people that want their way, they claim ‘I’m the dealmaker, it’s my way,’ or whatever. I never approach negotiations like that. I try to find out what, for example, what do the Democrats really need, and what do they want, and can we do it. And what do we need, I’m speaking of the Republicans, and can they do it, and try to work through that.
  • “So I don’t look at myself as a dealmaker, but maybe a veteran legislator.”
  • Full piece HERE.

In Memoriam: Losing Jak, and Stephen Gordon.

  • One year ago, Shana Teehan experienced the unthinkable when her son, Jak died.
  • Most Alabama politicos know Shana from her time working at the Alabama Republican Party or most recently for U.S. Sen. Luther Strange.
  • The last year has been understandably difficult, and Shana has often shared memories of Jak on Facebook to help grieve and keep his memory alive.
  • She’s now opening up and sharing her story by way of an op-ed in YellowHammer. It really is worth your time this morning.
    Stephen Gordon passes
  • Yesterday came with more sad news: Stephen Gordon passed away. He was unable to recover after slipping into a coma last weekend.
  • Stephen worked for various conservative and libertarian causes over the years, between Alabama and Washington, D.C. He was a really nice guy and fun to be around, even if you didn’t agree politically.
  • Sincere condolences and prayers for his family today.

News Briefs. 

Whatley goes up on TV
  • State Sen. Tom Whatley is up on the air with a new TV ad.
  • He talks education and tax cuts, while highlighting his service in the Alabama National Guard.
  • You can watch the ad and read about what’s behind it in Caroline Beck’s write up HERE.
  • This is the first ad I’ve seen for a state legislative race. Have I missed any? If so, please send them my way. We’ll do another rundown of ads for the fall.
More on Amendments w/ API’s Parker Snider
  • Parker Snider of the Alabama Policy Institute continues his focus on the constitutional amendments that will be on the ballot this November.
  • First up: the amendment allowing the Ten Commandments to be displayed in public buildings.
  • It’s a thoughtful read and I learned a few things.
  • Give it a gander HERE.
Fundraising numbers
  • Brian Lyman dug into the fundraising numbers for statewide candidates.
  • It was kind of a slow summer and some Democrats are doing better than you might expect.
  • His piece HERE.
Did you see the Nike ad?
  • The Nike Colin Kaepernik ad finally debuted for real last night during the Falcons-Eagles game.
  • Did you see it? It’s worth a watch HERE.
  • Thing is, it’s a GREAT ad. Inspirational in so many aspects. Kinda makes you wonder if they HAD to go with such a controversial spokesman like Kaepernick.
  • Buzzfeed’s Katherine Miller has an engaging piece on the whole thing that I recommend to you.
  • Those questions I have? She answers them.
  • “Those kind of questions are all fine and good, but Nike is the capitalist god of destruction.”
  • Full piece HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Economists: Solid job growth in August, lowest unemployment in 50 years.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Almost done: Almost done: Kavanaugh avoids major missteps as Democrats attempt to block nomination.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump denounces anonymous column as officials cry ‘Not me!’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Whatley Releases New Campaign Ad for State Senate Race.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Parker Snider: Understanding CA One: The Ten Commandments and Religious Freedom.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Center Stage settles, agrees to give up gambling machines.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Nike unveils Kaepernick ad to air during NFL season opener.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama-based chicken-finger chain reports data breach.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – ‘Red Tails’ to fly over Montgomery Saturday.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Many questions, few answers about Alabama State financial aid delays.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Local company backs teen’s crusade for homeless vets.
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – How black women are organizing to energize voters this fall.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Rep. Byrne “actively looking” at Senate bid.
AL.COM – Alabama sheriffs get front row seat to President Trump’s latest media attack.
AL.COM – Maddox accuses Ivey campaign of lacking substance on issues in governor’s race.
AL.COM – AG Sessions says he didn’t write New York Times op-ed; list of denials.
AL.COM – Birmingham-based Southern Research raising funds for key areas of study.
AL.COM – Two former Republican judges donate to Democratic candidate for Chief Justice seat.
AL.COM – Environmental groups sue TVA over new fixed fee.
AL.COM – Teen in Alabama foster care decries lack of right to attorney.
AL.COM – $25 million Alabama Futures Fund looking for adaptable teams, bold ideas.
AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Is that you, Jeff Sessions?
WASHINGTON POST – ‘A never-ending cycle’: Book, op-ed show how some Trump aides work to curb his instincts.
WASHINGTON POST – Trump and questions of presidential power dominate third day of Kavanaugh hearings.
WASHINGTON POST – The Kavanaugh hearing shows us just how far the Senate has fallen.
WASHINGTON POST – Positive economic news nudges mortgage rates higher.
NEW YORK TIMES – The Future of Abortion Under a New Supreme Court? Look to Arkansas

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