Good Thursday morning to you...
Weather: An eye on the tropics. A disturbance in the Caribbean has pulled itself together, and appears to be taking aim on the Florida Panhandle. Nothing serious like a hurricane is coming, but the coast and the southern half of Alabama could get some heavy rain over the weekend. Not nearly as much for the metro area is forecast for now, though that is subject to change. Until then we'll have sunny skies with highs in the middle 80s and lows in the middle 60s for today and Friday.
That went well, or not. President Obama met with Congressional leaders from both parties Wednesday over the government shutdown, but little came of it and both sides continued to dig in their heels. The GOP-led House of Representatives passed bills that would restore funding to certain government departments and agencies but also delay the implementation of Obamacare for individuals by a year, just as Obama did himself for large businesses, but the bills were all dead on arrival in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Meanwhile, controversy erupted at the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, where U.S. Park Service officials erected barricades and notices that the memorial was closed due to the shutdown. But WWII veterans visiting the memorial as part of an “Honor Flight” group took down the barricades, aided by some Republican lawmakers. There are conflicting reports as to exactly who ordered the memorial to be barricaded, or why; the site is normally open without fences of any kind, and not manned by any rangers.
Four dead near Double Springs. The Winston County sheriff says that four people were founded shot to death late last night inside a vehicle on a narrow county road. A woman noticed the car as she drove to work in the morning, then again when she came home; that's when she called authorities. No word yet on identities or motives, as sheriff's deputies were still combing the scene for clues overnight.
Tom Clancy, 1947-2013. The prolific author, known for his highly-detailed action novels such as “The Hunt for Red October” and “Patriot Games,” died Wednesday at Johns Hopkins Hospital in his hometown of Baltimore at age 67. Clancy carried such attention to detail of military science and weaponry that some government officials suspected he had knowledge of classified material. Many of his works were made into motion pictures, and recurring protagonist Jack Ryan is one of the most enduring characters in American cinema. In later years, Clancy even branched out into video games.
Sports: Desmond does it. Former Pinson Valley star athlete Desmond Jennings smacked a two-run homer to help his Tampa Bay Rays shut out Cleveland 4-0 in Wednesday's American League wild card game. The center fielder was 2-for-3 for the night; his double in the fourth inning gave starter Alex Cobb the cushion he needed for the win. The Rays now move to the AL Division Series, and head for Fenway Park to take on the Boston Red Sox... Football: Not funny, HaHa. Alabama safety HaHa Clinton-Dix has been suspended indefinitely by coach Nick Saban for an unspecified violation of team rules. Saban did not elaborate on the violation, which is standard procedure. The junior is a likely early-round NFL draft pick.