Let's clean out the notebook...
• I've said that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been smart not to rush to impeachment against President Trump; more people would probably rather wait to the election and the Senate would likely never convict him, although there is enough evidence they could probably make it a viable thing.
At the same time, then there are stories that continue to mount. The Washington Post had a report Wednesday that shocked me. I'm not surprised Trump is pushing to have a wall on the Mexican border by Election Day. But then I read that he is so eager that, as the Post said, "he has directed aides to fast-track billions of dollars' worth of construction contracts, aggressively seize private land and" - wait for it - "disregard environmental rules, according to current and former officials involved with the project. He also has told worried subordinates that he will pardon them of any potential wrongdoing should they have to break laws to get the barriers built quickly, those officials said."
When Politico highlighted it in their Playbook newsletter Wednesday, they added, "Democrats are likely going to be very, very interested in the president instructing aides to break the law, and promising a pardon."
And this is on top of the administration diverting $271 hurricane relief funds for border detection just as Puerto Rico is settling in for another hurricane.
According to other reports, the president is no longer surrounded by senior aides who try to tamper him down on his wild impulses. You are seeing unfiltered Trump more and more, and impeachment talk is now being joined by talk about possibly having to use the 25th Amendment to remove him from being capable to govern. I think the day will come where people have to suggest a neutral doctor, maybe from another nation, to give an independent examination to solve the issue. People are worried he is unhinged. If he is not, he is careless and selfish beyond a doubt, which is worse. I'm not sure this can be sustained until November 2020, if just the right (meaning wrong) situation presents itself through his actions. And I am hearing more and more state polls in critical states showing Trump under water; in Florida, his lead has shrunk to like 2 percent.
Of course, Democrats have their own problems, finding an electable candidate who can generate excitement. And then there was also this today: The Star Tribune in Minneapolis report and the New York Post report a Washington physician alleges in divorce filings that her husband lefter her after being romantically linked with Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is also married. Omar said she is not separated or dating outside her marriage; she got married last year. The relationship came to light on April 7. This could complicate Omar being taken seriously if she criticizes Trump's dealings with women or his moral character in general. She has had other allegations made against her as well.
• Staff members at the Eagle are following up on the opioid epidemic with stories, particularly stories of how individuals have been affected, which puts a face to the problem. We also appreciate Attorney General Steve Marshall coming by the office for a half-hour interview, not just for policy but to share his own personal story (although I may come out with this more quickly now that Purdue Pharma is proposing a settlement with the states such as Alabama). We hope to come out with the personal stories around Sept. 15, as we may explore more angles, too, although some of them may be spread out.
• The Marion County School System is looking at how to address attendance problems, the Journal Record reports in Hamilton. An average of 24 percent of the county school system students missed 15 or more days of school in the 2018-2019 school year. At Hackleburg Elementary, over 35 percent of the students there missed 18 or more days that year, and are projected to stay behind in their studies.
• By the way, Michael Palmer of the Journal Record conducted a 2.5-hour interview with me Wednesday as part of its 50th anniversary edition coming out soon. I worked like 18 years there, from 1988 to 1999, and from late 2009 to early 2017. with a 10-year absence; I just passed my 38th anniversary in journalism this month. I was proud of my association there, which was really the highlight of my career, and wish them the best on their anniversary.
• Passed by the inside of the old Fred's in Jasper early this week near night, and the lights inside showed the store cleared out entirely; it appears now to be closed.
• Work on Airport Road continues, with dust clouds rising at times. It stretched into the early evening hours one night and on the detour I had to tell them I lived at the apartments before they would let me onto Airport Road at all. One night the entire northbound lane was blocked from Highway 118. Has to be done, of course, but, oh, wake me up when December comes.
• Haven't seen yet, but the staff tells me the parking lot many of us use across the street from the Sheriff's Office has been blocked off as a private lot that must be for employee parking; public parking didn't seen possible. That was where I parked to sometimes get to Bernards, Warehouse 319 or Los Reyes, and keep in mind Foothills Festival is coming. (Keep in mind I understand it is all but certain that the parking lot behind Johnny Brusco's could also be kept private for employees the days of the festival and may not be in use for the public.)
• The Alabama Coal Association (ACA) issued a release applauding the Tuscaloosa County Commission for their Monday vote to approve nearly $482,000 in funding for much-needed work on cracking and potholes on Wallace Ferry Road due to increased traffic in recent years resulting from the opening of the Shoal Creek Mine portal. Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) and Tuscaloosa County Commissioner Stan Acker have been leading the charge to address the deficient road conditions, the association said. Shoal Creek Mine was once owned by Drummond but is currently owned and operated by Peabody Energy. "This facility, formerly run by Drummond Company and now owned by Peabody, employs hundreds of people that live in my district – and this facility and this roadway are in my district,” Reed said.
• Protesters from Home Town Action at again and held up signs at the Carbon Hill City Council on Monday, handing out fliers there were concerned now not just about Mayor Mark Chambers' online comments but also that the mayor and supporters have "mismanaged city resources and responsibilities." (They didn't elaborate.) They also claimed a representative wanted to get on the agenda but Chambers wouldn't let them. "When Mayor Chambers discovered that our member had publicly expressed complaint about not being allowed on the agenda and had pointed out contradictions in the Mayor's reasoning, he attempted to backtrack and allow her to speak." However, that person was not on the agenda and did not speak, and the group didn't say in the flyer why not, except to add the mayor action "demonstrates the arbitrary and unfair way in which he wields power." The temperature at the meetings do seem to be leveling off on the controversy, although I noticed three police officers, including Police Chief Eric House, is SWAT-like vests at the meeting.
• If you wondered about the new Star Wars land at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, the early independent word through video posts is sensationally great. This may be a new interactive type of experience that may become the norm at these parks. (I'm not a Star Wars fanatic, but those who are say it lives up to the hype.)
Meanwhile, D-23, the company's big (and overdone) fan convention just finished. Interesting they are redoing the Spaceship Earth ride and a makeover for the Spaceship Earth itself at Epcot and reworking some of that entrance square, including an elevated garden, it seems. They also plan to put a statue of a seated, older Walt Disney in the square. Moreover, the back end of the British pavilion will be remade to look like Cherry Tree Lane out of Merry Poppins, and possibly include a related attraction there. We already knew that new rides theming Mickey Mouse and Ratatouille are also planned for the Hollywood park, and that a new Star Wars interactive themed hotel is going up. A new skyways transportation ride is about to open in a month to link more of the Disney hotels with the parks. All of this is underway as Walt Disney World plans to mark its 50th anniversary in 2021.
• I've become a big fan on Amazon of a two-season 30-minute Western, "The Rebel," starring Nick Adams, which debuted in 1959. It was well written and well acted, and turned out to be popular for a short time. (If Adams sounds familiar, he was the short little guy who was Andy Griffith's friend in "No Time for Sargeants." In this, he's a pint-sized John Wayne and pretty good with his fists as a former Confederate soldier roaming the West and keeping a diary.) The series was also unique for having Johnny Cash singing the theme song at the start and finish.