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Weekend Digest- September 9, 2018

I hope everyone had a good weekend! Here is the news you need to know for September 9, 2018.

1. U.S. Open Ends in a fiery argument

  • Serena Williams lost on Saturday to 20-year old Naomi Osaka, keeping Williams from earning the record-tying 24th Grand Slam title. Osaka became the first Haitian-Japanese American to win a Grand Slam title.
  • But, that landmark was overshadowed by the arguments and penalties thrown around by Williams and the match’s chair umpire, Carlos Ramos.
  • Ramos issued three penalties against Williams in the second set, saying that Williams was being given instructions from her coach in the stands, which is against the rules.
  • The other penalties were for slamming her racket on the court and verbal abuse toward the umpire. By rule, three penalties like that and you get a game deducted, which is a pretty severe penalty, especially for a U.S. Open final.
  • Did the judge go too far? Williams later argued the ruling was sexist, seeing has how men players have said and done much worse and not been penalized a whole game.
  • But none of it would have happened had Williams just kept her cool and not repeatedly gone after the judge.
  • I think Williams has a point here that women are often shut down and accused of acting “hysterical” while men are simply seen as sticking up for themselves. Here’s an interesting article from The Cut that goes further into that line of thought.
  • Perhaps the saddest part is Osaka’s win was completely overshadowed by the ordeal. Fans booed during the trophy presentation, and Osaka cried and apologized for winning.
  • You can read the AP’s report on it here and watch one of the heated interactions here.

2. New Federal Courthouse opens in Mobile.

  • The new federal courthouse finally opened in Mobile Friday.
  • The special even brought a unique gathering of attendees, from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby and Doug Jones.
  • Sessions received a hometown welcome in the form of a vigorous and lengthy standing ovation from the crowd, which must have felt good. Before he was Alabama Attorney General and U.S. Senator, Sessions served as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District in Mobile.
  • He talked about his time in the old court house where he prosecuted many cases and called them his “camelot days.”
  • Shelby spearheaded the getting the courthouse built and helped secure the $100 million to do it. He noted the need for a new courthouse saying the former building “is older than some of us.”
  • Former Congressman Jo Bonner and Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson were on hand, as were dozens of staff and lawyers involved in the federal judiciary.
  • WKRG has video of the ceremony, including speeches from Sessions, Shelby, and Jones. It’s worth a watch.
  • Lawrence Speckler from was there and wrote about it HERE.

3. Obama back into politics

  • President Obama came back into the political world in a loud and powerful way this Friday when he very openly denounced President Trump’s administration saying he was a “threat to democracy.”
  • This very public scathing review is a break from tradition. Past presidents usually refrain from commenting or taking positions on issues for fear it could undermine the current president.
  • With the Democratic Party without a unifying leader, Obama wants to use his influence to ramp up turnout from his base for the midterm elections. He has planned multiple stops from now until November.
  • Obama has stayed away from mentioning Trump directly in the speeches he’s given since leaving the White House, only alluding to policy he dislikes from the administration, so this one packed a particular punch especially when Obama mentions Trump’s controversial response after the Charlottesville protests.
  • He also brought up Trump’s treatment of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, especially since this past week, the two’s troubled relationship is back against thanks to the new Bob Woodward book.
“[W]e do not pressure the Attorney General or the FBI to use the criminal justice system as a cudgel to punish our political opponents,” Obama said.
“Or to explicitly call on the Attorney General to protect members of our own party from prosecution because an election happens to be coming up.”
  • You can watch all of Obama’s speech to the University of Illinois here.
Speaking of Sessions
  • The AP recently released a report highlighting how Sessions has become the “presidential punching bag” whenever Trump is not happy with the DOJ.
  • It all began, of course, when Session recused himself form the special counsel investigation looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  • The report explains that because of Trump’s public outbursts over Session’s performance, his work on illegal immigration, violent crime and opioid addiction may be overshadowed by the president’s outrage.
  • You can read that story here.

4.TS Florence now Hurricane Florence

  • Tropical Storm Florence turned into a hurricane Sundaymorning and swirled toward the U.S. for what forecasters said could be a direct hit on the Southeast toward the end of the week.
  • The storm’s sustained winds reached 75 mph (121 kph), just over the threshold for a hurricane, as it made its way across the Atlantic.
  • Forecasters are saying it’s still too early to predict the hurricane’s path but it’s safe to say that the coastal area from northern Florida up to North Carolina should prepare for a major hit.
  • The governors of North and South Carolina and Virginia declared states of emergency to give them time to prepare, and the Navy said ships in Virginia’s Hampton Roads area would leave port for their own safety.
  • Reports on different Caribbean islands, such as Bermuda are saying that dangerous swells are threatening the island.
  • You can read more here.

5. The Week in Good News

9/11 Subway Station Reopens after nearly 2 decades
  • Many of you may not have known that the metro station that ran directly under the world trade center has sat unused and under repair for the last 17 years.
  • But now, as we approach the anniversary date of 9/11, New York has decided to reopen the station.
  • The new station is beautifully designed with text from the Declaration of Independence and the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights carved into the walls.
  • It’s wonderful to see this nation still striving to better itself after such a senseless tragedy and shows how our nation is still finding ways to show how humanity and love will always win.
  • You can look at pictures of the station here and here.
HBCU Students Offered Internship with Coca-Cola
  • A selection of students from Historically Black Colleges across the south were chosen to participate in a week long internship in various Coca-Cola bottling plants this summer.
  • Among the students were nine who came from Alabama HBCUs.
  • The program offered the students firsthand experience in a range of roles available at Coca-Cola, including sales operations, productions, marketing and community relations.
  • The internship offers these students some real-world experience that is needed for college students now before they enter their chosen professional field.
  • This is just another example of how Alabama companies are incorporating the younger generation to ensure a more successful future for the young people and the state as a whole.
  • Coca-Cola says they plan on extending the program for 2019 and you can read more about the program here.
Braille for the Digital Age
  • A new device has been created that allows blind people to read text on the internet.
  • Kristina Tsvetanova is the inventor and in 2014 she created the company Blitab Technology that creates these tablets that allow blind people to read text on the internet.
  • It’s a fascinating device that is a tablet and the top half is glass and is perforated into a grid with holes, which allow Blitab’s liquid-based technology to create tactile relief — or “tixels” — that outputs content in the Braille alphabet.
  • Priced at around $500, Blitab could be the improved and affordable alternative to existing portable Braille readers that blind people have long desired.
  • This advancement is very exciting to see and will hopefully bridge the gap that has been created in our society that prevents disabled people from participating fulling in this modern-technological era.
  • You can read more about the device and the company here.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – For Sessions, Trump’s constant attacks may define his legacy
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Powerful hurricane could be headed to US
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Williams loses game for arguing during US Open loss to Osaka
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Coca-Cola hosts internship week for HBCU students
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Columnist Vanzetta McPherson: Change is on the horizon whether people want to embrace it or not.
DOTHAN EAGLE – The Dothan Eagle: Electronic bingo resolved? Don’t bet on it.
DECATUR DAILY – Path out of Poverty: New Community Action Partnership CEO focuses on continuing organization’s housing, education and nutritional programs.
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – 70% of kids get price breaks on school meals.
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – Asian carp a ‘looming threat’ to area.
GADSDEN TIMES – The Gadsden Times: It was a wacky week in Washington.
ANNISTON STAR – The Anniston Star: A 2018 perspective for the 9/11 memorials.
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 – Prisons face officer shortage, court order to boost numbers.
AL.COM – Columnist Roy Johnson: 50 years after Arthur Ashe made tennis history, sports could really use him now.
AL.COM – Columnist Frances Coleman: Dispatches from a region full of ignoramuses.
AL.COM – Contributor Monita Soni: Are we deranged? Noted author asks the question at UAH.
US NEWS & WORLD REPORT – Summit Planned on Alabama Infant Deaths
WASHINGTON POST – Trump colors the fall campaign landscape: ‘He’s been the only thing that matters’.
WASHINGTON POST – With a shrinking EPA, Trump delivers on his promise to cut government.
WASHINGTON POST – Trump’s border wall threatens to end Texas family’s 250 years of ranching on Rio Grande.
WASHINGTON POST – The Washington Post: We’re running out of time to deter Russia.
WASHINGTON POST – Apple faces Trump’s ire after company says its products would be hurt by tariffs.
WASHINGTON POST – For Sessions, Trump’s constant attacks may define his legacy.
NEW YORK TIMES – Obama, on California Front Lines, Joins Democratic Battle to Capture House
NEW YORK TIMES – How the Anonymous Op-Ed Came to Be.

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