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Weekend Digest- September 16, 2018

I hope everyone had a good weekend! Here is the news you need to know for September 16, 2018.

1. Affects of Florence so far

  • Record amounts of rain have been hailing down on the Carolinas this weekend as, now Tropical Storm, Florence made landfall on Friday.
  • As of Sunday morning, the New York Times is reporting that 14 people have died so far because of the storm. A mother and child were killed after a tree fell on their home.
  • North Carolina saw winds up to 90 mph (145 kph) and rivers swelling towards record levels and recent reports saying that 796,000 customers are now without power.
  • State officials are still warning citizens in the Carolinas too be careful of continuing flooding and that more water could be coming.
  • It is estimated that by the end of the storm, 40 inches of rain will have fallen on parts of North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina.
  • Trump administration officials will most likely be watching the death toll from Florence very carefully in light of President Trump’s controversial tweet this Friday about rejecting the death toll number in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria last year.

2. Manafort to cooperate with Mueller investigation

  • Trump’s former campaign chairman has promised special counsel Robert Mueller that he would tell everything he knows as part of a plea deal.
  • Manafort will be the first witness with the closest insight to the Trump campaign, Mueller has interviewed yet.
  • This is a big advancement for Mueller’s investigation because, as the NYT explains, Manafort also has the closest ties to Russian operatives and oligarchs which could lead to a possible answer to the Russian interference question in the 2016 election
  • Manafort had withheld from reaching this plea deal longer than any of the other three Trump advisers who have also cooperated with Mueller now.
  • Trump even publicly congratulated Manafort for being “such a brave man” for not agreeing to a plea deal.
  • So What information does Manafort know?
  • That remains to be seen, but his ties with Konstantin V. Kilimnik, a Russian citizen who prosecutors have said had ties to a Russian intelligence service that continued into 2016 could be useful to Mueller.
  • Manafort also had a business relationship with Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with ties to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
  • Because of this plea deal, it is unlikely that the Mueller investigation will rap up before the midterm elections.
  • WH Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani say this deal has nothing to do with Trump and does not in any way prove collusion with the Russian government.

A message from the Business Council of Alabama

  • The featured speaker for this year’s BCA Chairman’s Dinner needs no introduction. Ben Stein is the most famous economics teacher in America. His role in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” has been ranked among the 50 most famous scenes in movie history.
  • He won seven Emmys co-hosting “Win Ben Stein’s Money” and now is a regular commentator on Fox News, CBS Sunday Morning, and CNN.
  • On October 30, investors in the “Carrying the Flag for Business” campaign can hear him say “Bueller” in person… along with some interesting insights about the state of the economy and the Trump presidency.
  • Visit BCA online to learn how you or your organization can be a part of this year’s event.

3. Anniversary of 16th St. Baptist Church Bombing

  • Yesterday was the 55th anniversary of the bombing at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham that took the lives of four young girls and then two young boys not long after.
  • Senator Doug Jones attended a service at the church where he talked about his time when serving as U.S. attorney he prosecuted two of the men involved in the bombing.
  • Jones mentioned the use of hateful rhetoric and what it can do to entice real life violence, making parallels to Trump’s comments after the Charlottesville protests last year.
“Rhetoric has consequence, four young girls died in part because of the words and rhetoric of the leaders in this area,” Jones said.
  • Mayor of Birmingham, Randall Woodfin, was also there where he spoke about how the hate that was seen 55 years ago is still a problem that needs to be addressed today.
  • He spoke about how justice is still needed in the city:
“Birmingham is bigger than the aches and pains of our past,” Woodfin said. “Our true legacy is hope. Our true legacy is reconciliation, unity and probably most important, justice. That’s what we remember today.”
  • Kay Ivey also remarked about the anniversary on twitter:
“55 years ago, the nation was shaken by the bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church. Today, we remember the four little girls who lost their lives & the impact that horrific day had on the Civil Rights Movement.”
  • You can read more about the event from Abbey Crain over at

Speaking of Doug Jones…

  • The senator went on CNN this morning and partly talked about the new sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh this weekend.
  • Jones said that if he gets to meet with Kavanaugh this week he will bring up the allegation to him.
  • But Jones said that since the letter is anonymous it’s going to be hard to “test it unless someone comes forward with more information.”
  • He also said he wished this matter had been handled better early on when senate democrats apparently knew about this information as early as July.
  • Jones has said before that he would still like to meet with Kavanaugh after the hearings, but now it may be too late for that since voting could happen in two weeks.

4. In case you missed it: Profiles on Close Races

  • Over the next several weeks ADN will be producing stories about the closest races you can expect to see in Alabama leading up to the general election in November.
  • You can read my first installment in the series: the race for House District 89, in Pike and Dale County.
  • The two candidates are vying for an open seat in the district after Alan Boothe served the district for 20 years.
  • Probate Judge Wes Allen is the Republican candidate who plans on running on his committed stance to conservative values and principles.
  • Attorney Joel Lee Williams is the Democratic candidate who has received an impressive amount in fundraising this year and the close loss he faced in 2014 all point to this race being very close again for him.
  • Read my full report on the race here and stay tuned for more of these profiles to come!

5. The Week in Good News

Here’s some happy and hopeful reads to bring in the new week:
A 100th birthday celebration AND wedding surprise
  • One New York man celebrated his 100th birthday this past labor day weekend, but what his guests who were attending didn’t know was that they were also about to attend his wedding.
  • Mannie Corman wore a t-shirt to his birthday party that read “Vintage 1918, Aged to Perfection”
  • He married his girlfriend of seven years, Judith Goldman, who met Mannie because he was best friends with her late husband.
  • There are a lot of unconventional things about this marriage, like the 24 year age gap, but if anything, this marriage shows that love cannot be bound by any age and that there is always still time to find love.
  • You can read all the details about this cute couple here.
Ethiopia-Eritrea Border Opens Up for first time in 20 years.
  • I know as an American I can often get bogged down with all the news about the election season but sometimes it’s good to look at the news outside our own border.
  • The border between the African nations Ethiopia and Eritrea are finally open again after 20 years.
  • After war broke out between the countries, the borders were closed up, phone calls across the border were banned and embassies were closed.
  • Estimated tens of thousands of people were left dead because of the war, but now the two nation’s leaders have reached a peace deal.
  • After a series of reconciliation moves that began in July, when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia and President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea signed a formal declaration of peace.
  • Families can now finally be reunited and now hopefully the open border will inspire trade and economic growth for both countries.
  • You can read all about it here.
ASU’s Mighty Marching Hornets rule the field
  • I know I love to watch a good half time marching band show, and ASU’s mighty marching hornets do not disappoint at their games.
  • The marching hornets are use to a level of excellency that can obviously be seen in their level of performance on the field.
  • The band’s Director, James Oliver, told the Montgomery Advertiser that they have never repeated a halftime show at home, which means sometimes having to change the show weekly.
  • That shows massive amounts of dedication from the players who spend around 20 hours each week mastering their performances.
  • You should definitely check out their whole profile from the Montgomery Advertiser here.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Report: Trump going ahead with plans for new China tariffs
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State to hold job fair for people with disabilities
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Florence pours on the rain amid fears of catastrophic floods
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Manafort pleads guilty, will cooperate with special counsel
AL.COM – Jones, Woodfin encourage reconciliation, justice at 55th anniversary of church bombing.
AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald: Eat direct and die, Alabama.
AL.COM – Texas board votes to drop Alabama’s Helen Keller from required school lessons.
AL.COM – Officer buys new pressure washer after Florence couple’s reported stolen.
AL.COM – In Alabama governor’s race, Walt Maddox banks on voters recognizing a link between Ivey and Bentley.
AL.COM – Contributor Jackson Barnett: Home again in Alabama after four years up north.
AL.COM – Contributor Garth Thorpe: Many in-demand jobs don’t require a 4-year degree.
AL.COM – Columnist Frances Coleman: Hurricanes and the people who try to save us from ourselves
DAILY YONDER – For Farmers, the Impact of Florence Will Linger for Years
DECATUR DAILY – Lawsuit: 3M knew chemicals were toxic.
ANNISTON STAR – Six months on from storm, Jacksonville is still rebuilding.
ANNISTON STAR – The Anniston Star: The need for workplace pay equality in Alabama.
DOTHAN EAGLE – The Dothan Eagle: $30M should produce dramatic results, not indiscernible difference.
WASHINGTON POST – Florence: At least eleven deaths reported as storm slogs across Carolinas.
WASHINGTON POST – Borrowing strategy from NRA, activists quietly overturn knife restrictions across U.S.
WASHINGTON POST – Contributor Paul Glastris: How Americans have come to see college as a requirement.
WASHINGTON POST – Columnist Colbert I. King: This is the most important thing you will do all year.
WASHINGTON POST – The Washington Post: The House GOP stages a political show on taxes.
WASHINGTON POST – Trump’s real problem is that he obstructed justice, and Mueller can prove it. Here’s how.
NEW YORK TIMES – The Economy Is Humming, but Trump Is Tweeting. Republicans Are Worried.
NEW YORK TIMES – Columnist David Leonhardt: We’re Measuring the Economy All Wrong
NEW YORK TIMES – 2-Year-Old Boy With Deadly Cancer Gets an Early Christmas From His Neighbors
NEW YORK TIMES – A Dallas Police Officer Shot Her Neighbor, and a City Is Full of Questions

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