Politics & Government

Politics, elections, law, military and veteran's affairs

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Voters in most of Blount County and part of northern Jefferson County will go to the polls Tuesday to elect a new state representative.

Former Blount County Probate Judge David Standridge of Hayden faces Blount County Board of Education vice president Chris Latta in a Republican runoff in House District 34. The winner has no Democratic opposition.

The new representative will fill the vacancy created when Republican Rep. Elwyn Thomas of Oneonta resigned to become executive director of the Alabama Manufactured Housing Commission.

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Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead says he's disappointed Gov. Robert Bentley has abandoned him, but he doesn't think it will affect the outcome of his re-election bid.

Bentley held a conference call with members of the Republican Executive Committee Thursday night, where he endorsed Birmingham attorney Matt Fridy for the party's top leadership job. Bentley backed Armistead when he was elected two years ago. Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey and House Speaker Mike Hubbard are also backing Fridy.

This kind of thing rarely happens. But today during the United Nation's COP 18 climate change conference in Doha, the lead negotiator for the Philippines broke down.

He delivered an emotional plea for action on the issue of climate change that was made even more dramatic because his country is just now starting to pick up the pieces from a typhoon that has killed hundreds.

The Internet has not been kind to House Speaker John Boehner in recent days. On Twitter, there are some new, not-so-subtle hashtags going around: #boehnermustgo, #fireboehner and #purgeboehner.

The Republican plan to avert the "fiscal cliff" that the White House rejected Monday includes at least one element that's likely to produce controversy: a proposal that would, among other things, affect the cost of living adjustment for Social Security.

If you're tempted to throw back your head and guffaw when you hear the word "negotiation" linked with "Congress" and "fiscal cliff," please, don't hesitate.

Because what you're seeing play out publicly between congressional Republicans and Democrats and the White House bears little resemblance to negotiation.

"The game that's being played is the same game that's been played over the past few years — brinksmanship, and hard positional bargaining," says William Ury, who knows negotiation when he sees it.

Alabama transportation officials hope they have the answer to preventing landslides on Lookout Mountain near Fort Payne: Giant nails.

The state Department of Transportation has hired Soil Nail Launcher Inc. of Grand Junction, Colo., to shoot long, nail-like tubes into slumping soil inside the Fort Payne city limits.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that the company repairs landslides around the country, including in Tennessee.

Officials say the work will cost a little less than $3 million.

alfafarmers.org

A fifth-generation Chilton County farmer has been elected president of the Alabama Farmers Federation.

Officials Monday announced Jimmy Parnell, of Stanton, will serve a two-year term as president.

Officials say 48-year-old Parnell served on the organization's board of directors between 1999 and 2008, and was chairman of the group's Young Farmers Committee in 1997.

Parnell raises cattle and runs a timber business with his father and two younger brothers. He was named logger of the year by the Alabama Forestry Association in 2006.

The U.S. has called the latest Israeli settlement plan "counterproductive," and now the Europeans have weighed in, with even more pointed criticism.

Israeli ambassadors to Britain, France, Denmark, Spain and Sweden were summoned Monday to hear opposition to the settlement plan.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Throughout his first term, some of President Obama's critics said he wasn't a tough enough negotiator. They felt he caved to Republicans too early, too often. Since his re-election, Obama has subtly changed his approach. He's bringing a more aggressive style — but some critics say it's not the best way to find common ground.

A new veteran's cemetery to be owned and operated by the state will be dedicated in a ceremony at 10 a.m. Friday in Spanish Fort.

Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner retired Rear Admiral W. Clyde Marsh said it was appropriate that the cemetery is being dedicated on Pearl Harbor Day.

It's the first veteran's cemetery owned and operated by the state of Alabama.

The cemetery's first phase covers 22.8 acres and will include an administration building, maintenance facility, committal shelter and memorial walk.

alfafarmers.org

Three people are vying to replace Jerry Newby as president of the Alabama Farmers Federation.

The Tuscaloosa News (http://bit.ly/V8Boze ) reports that state Rep. Richard Lindsey of Centre; Jimmy Parnell of Maplesville; and Ricky Wiggins of Covington County are candidates in the election.

The vote will be held Monday during the group's annual meeting in Montgomery.

The 65-year-old Newby announced earlier this year he wouldn't seek re-election. He served seven two-year terms.

legislature.state.al.us / The Alabama Legislature

Alabama's governor has appointed Republican state Rep. Jeremy Oden of Vinemont to a vacant seat on the Alabama Public Service Commission.

Gov. Robert Bentley said Friday Oden will resign from his north Alabama House seat before joining the state's utility regulatory board on Monday.

Bentley served with Oden in the House before becoming governor and said Oden will represent the needs of utility consumers in a fair and responsible manner. Oden will fill the seat held by Republican Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh before she was elected president of the PSC on Nov. 6.

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A state senator who supported Barack Obama in both presidential elections is expressing concerns about his leadership.

http://www.macmccutcheon.com/

Republican State Rep. Mac McCutcheon of Capshaw has been named chairman of the powerful Rules Committee in the Alabama House of Representatives.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard of Auburn Thursday named McCutcheon to replace Republican Rep. Blaine Galliher of Gadsden as Rules Committee chairman. The Rules Committee sets the daily work agenda for the House.

Galliher resigned his House seat four months ago when Gov. Robert Bentley named him legislative director in the governor's administration.

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a resolution upgrading Palestine to a "non-member observer state," from a "non-member observer entity."

Before the vote and in front of the assembly, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said this was the body's "last chance to save the two-state solution."

It was an off-the-record lunch and a photo op for the official White House photographer only. But it was a start.

President Obama hosted his recently ousted rival, Mitt Romney, for their first post-election meeting Thursday at the White House, a lunch of turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad.

Before Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton passes the reins to her successor, she's got a few loose ends to tie up. One of them is mapping out the U.S.'s continuing efforts to combat AIDS around the world.

So today she unveiled a "blueprint" for what she called an "AIDS-free generation."

Now Clinton isn't talking about ending the HIV pandemic altogether. Rather, she hopes to prevent most new infections from occurring in the first place and to stop HIV-positive people from developing AIDS.

The race for state auditor in 2014 has begun.

Adam Thompson, the deputy chief of staff or Alabama's secretary of state, announced Wednesday that he will run as a Republican for auditor. The current auditor, Samantha Shaw, has served two terms and can't run again. Shaw said Wednesday she doesn't plan to seek any office in 2014 and will help her husband, Greg Shaw, with his re-election campaign for the Supreme Court.

Thompson worked in the state auditor's office when Beth Chapman held the post and then followed her to the secretary of state's office in 2007.

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A lawyer for BP PLC entered a not-guilty plea for the company as it was arraigned on charges stemming from a deadly 2010 rig explosion and massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The plea Tuesday in federal court was a procedural move paving the way for a later guilty plea. It doesn't signal that BP is backing away from its plea agreement, company and government lawyers said.

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The winner of Alabama's presidential primary in March, Rick Santorum, is headed back to the state.

The former Pennsylvania senator will address the Alabama Policy Institute's annual dinner Thursday night in Birmingham. Institute President Gary Palmer says Santorum will talk about where conservatives should look for hope in changing the direction of the country. Santorum participated in the institute's presidential candidate forum in Mobile in March.

Santorum recently said he's open to considering another presidential run in 2016.

In December 2009, a would-be terrorist boarded a plane for Detroit with a bomb in his underwear. While the explosive failed to properly ignite and the man was arrested upon landing, the ensuing investigation revealed the bomb in question had been made by al-Qaida leaders in Yemen.

This attempted act of terrorism heralded both the small Arabian country's re-emergence into the international consciousness as a refuge for al-Qaida and the ascendance of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), developments that have grown only more pronounced since.

Venezuela's National Assembly has approved a measure that allows President Hugo Chávez to leave the country for medical treatment in Cuba.

Chávez, as we've reported, has been battling cancer for more than a year. His treatments and the secrecy surrounding his condition led some to wonder whether he could handle a rough reelection campaign. But he made a remarkable comeback and handily won another term in October.

After meeting with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice this morning, three key Republican senators emerged to say they're more troubled — not less — by what they say were intelligence failures and misleading information concerning the September attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, which left four Americans dead.

One, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said it's too soon to even be speculating about promoting Rice to be secretary of state.

The results of Alabama's election on Nov. 6 will become official Wednesday.

That's when the state Canvassing Board meets in Montgomery to review the returns from every county and certify the vote totals.

The Canvassing Board consists of Secretary of State Beth Chapman, Gov. Robert Bentley and Attorney General Luther Strange, or their representatives. The board will meet at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Chapman's Capitol office.

al.com

Alabama's top health officer says state Medicaid is facing a major funding shortfall.

The director of the Alabama Department of Public Health, Dr. Don Williamson, says federal changes will add $30 million to the state's Medicaid funding needs for 2014.

The Anniston Star (http://bit.ly/TdPa3M ) reports that state officials didn't know about the additional cost when voters approved using $437 million from a state fund to plug the Medicaid budget in September.

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CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, the novel "The Round House" won this year's National Book Award for fiction. We'll talk with author Louise Erdrich about the story and the award. That's just ahead.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Let's turn now to the urgent diplomatic efforts underway. Secretary of State Clinton is now in Cairo, meeting with Egyptian leaders in efforts to reach a ceasefire. NPR's Leila Fadel joins us from Cairo to discuss the latest.

Good morning.

publichousing.com

The Anniston Housing Authority is hiring a new executive director to fill a position that's been vacant since June of 2011.

The Anniston Star (http://bit.ly/TfopzA ) reports that Willie "Sonny" McMahand will begin heading the agency on Dec. 3.

McMahand is a 56-year-old native of Greenville, S.C. He has experience working in the public housing system there, in Durham, N.C. and in Charlotte, N.C.

McMahand also worked in Durham until he was laid off in December 2011 because of budget cuts.

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